ire safety remains abysmal in the country despite the numerous examples that incidents in the past have set. Only recently the Apollo Hospital in Bhubaneswar avoided a major mishap after a fire that started in the battery room of the hospital was put out in time, preventing loss of life and property. But people lodged in the Arpit Palace Hotel at Karol Bagh in New Delhi were most unlucky as 17 of them had to pay with their lives after a massive fire engulfed top floors of the hospital, two of which it turns out were constructed illegally. It is not the first such incident where illegal construction has cost lives. The Kamala Mills mishap of December 2017 in Mumbai had snuffed out 14 lives. That fire broke out at the rooftop restobar, 1Above, and spread to the pub next door Mojo’s Bistro. The fire department had then stated that 1Above had a makeshift marquee with tarpaulin sheets and artificial floral decorations, which facilitated the fire. The absence of properly maintained fire exits made escape impossible for people caught in that inferno. A lot of noise was made then about the way in which fire safety was being ignored in the metropolis and the country as a whole by innumerable organizations and institutions, and people in general. But none of those lessons was of any use in the given instance. Even in the case of the disaster in Delhi, politics is taking the front seat instead of constructive action. Reports suggest that a divider laid by the PWD on instructions given by the Lieutenant Governor’s office delayed the arrival of fire tenders at the spot by at least 20 minutes. Other reports said the ladder on the first fire engine to arrive on the spot failed to work and they had to wait for the next vehicle to arrive to make use of the hydraulic ladder to handle rescue. The worst breach of all is the fact that the hotel in question had a lot of wooden paneling that helped the fire spread rapidly. A short-circuit is suspected to have caused the fire. Such lapses are inexcusable and should not be allowed to continue by compensating for the loss of life in monetary terms and empty condolences and forgetting the whole matter until the next such big mishap happens. There is an urgent need to first assess the extent of threat from fires that rural and urban reaches of the country face. The simplest of preventive measures should suffice to keep fires at bay. But it will take collective will to achieve such a state. Especially business establishments need to factor in fire safety as an essential requirement from the time they envision their projects. The Kamala Mills fire and the Karol Bagh incident both indicate that fire safety was ignored in the pursuit of profit. The incidents also betray the inefficiencies and corruption not only in the system that allows space for profiteers to operate ignoring the basic requirements of ethical business but how totally soiled we, the citizens, are. The ease of doing business has to be rewritten as the ease of doing ethical business so that both entrepreneurs and the establishments keep their humanity alive while pursuing their own interests.