A major fire broke out on the fourth floor of the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) building at Sector 17B in Chandigarh on Monday afternoon, triggering panic in the area. Though nobody was injured, furniture and many old files were burnt. A short circuit may have caused the fire. Police have started probe. PFC officials said they were yet to access the quantum of damage. The fire, due to which the fourth floor was gutted, was brought under control in around two-and-a-half hours. As many as 10 fire tenders and two hydraulic machines were pressed into service to douse the flames.
The incident occurred around 3 pm when a labourer, Deepak, who went to the fourth floor, found that the storeroom, where old computers and furniture were kept, had caught fire. He immediately informed other workers, who called the fire brigade and police control room. Deepak told Chandigarh Newsline that shifting was in progress for the last three four days as the department was relocating to Yojana Bhawan at Sector 37 and on Monday afternoon, when he went to the fourth floor, he found smoke coming out of the storeroom.
“I first tried to put some water on the fire but it did not work. Then the entire room was engulfed in smoke and fire and I ran downstairs to inform the other workers and we called the fire brigade,” Deepak said. A PFC official said some files, concerning loans and other documents, were lying in the building and as the entire fourth floor was gutted, it would be difficult for them to get the records. He, however, added that most of the records is online but still there were some important files which were gutted.
DSP (Central) Ram Gopal said the exact cause of the fire was not known and they were verifying the incident. He added that after investigating the incident, they would take appropriate action. He also said that the forensic team had collected samples from the spot. A fire brigade official said two LPG cylinders kept in the storeroom might have exploded as they heard blasts there. Also, an air-conditioner, kept in the storeroom, exploded.
Daljeet Singh, who works in a private company, said his officer was near the PFC building and when he saw smoke coming out, he raised an alarm in his office and they all came out.