Two incidents of fire were reported from the capital on Monday — one in Chandni Chowk and the other in Connaught Place. Fire officials said there were no casualties and no one was injured in the two incidents that took place within eight hours of each other.
In CP, a spark in the server room of the NIIT centre in Block A gutted down the education centre. Later in the day, fire from a burning transformer in Chandni Chowk’s Kinari Bazaar gutted five buildings and damaged several adjoining shops and godowns.
Director of Fire Services A K Sharma said, “Over 20 fire tenders were deployed to bring the medium-level fires under control in Kinari Bazaar and CP.”
He said, “The fire in Kinari Bazaar was started by a transformer blast. It spread because of plastics and inflammable materials in the godowns of the buildings. The fire in Hamilton House in CP started from NIIT’s server room where all electronic equipment and batteries were kept. The smoke seeped into Fitness First Centre on the floor above. Water during the rescue operations damaged a few goods in the FabIndia and Starbucks outlets on the ground floor. The NIIT centre on the first floor was gutted completely.”
Shopkeepers in Kinari Bazaar said there had been a power cut from 12 noon till 2 pm. A soon as power was restored, the transformer burst, leading to the fire.
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The fire spread to the building the transformer was in contact with. The building collapsed and fell on another one, setting it ablaze.
“Power was disconnected an hour after the transformer burst, despite repeated calls to BSES,” shop-owner Neeraj Jain said, adding that all 25 cylinders in the area were removed by the shopkeepers when the fire started.
Alok Gupta, general secretary of Gota Zari Vyapar Mandal, said, “The fire gutted building no 2803, 2804, 2805, 2806, 2807, gutting with them 15 shops and godowns. We had complained to the BSES two months ago and deputy general manager R P Singh had brought a team to survey the transformer. But, no action was taken. Hot oil and sparks from the transformer have caused several accidents in the recent past.”
Fire fighters said they took a long time to reach Kinari Bazaar because of heavy traffic and the narrow congested lanes of Chandni Chowk. Twenty-two fire tenders were sent to the area and the fire was doused by 5.30 pm.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Madhur Verma said, “We reached the spot as soon as we were informed about the fire and we cleared an entire road in the Dariba Kalan for the fire vans to drive through.”
In CP, the fire had started in NIIT’s server room, after which it spread to the rearmost end touching Rama House.
There was confusion initially since the fire control room first received a call regarding a fire in Rama House. When fire officials reached the spot, they realised the fire was in NIIT centre at the facade of Hamilton House.
Around six persons who were working out in the gym, Fitness First, quickly evacuated the building. No one was injured or trapped.
A call to the fire control room was made around 7.15 am and around 10 fire tenders reached the spot. By 11 am, around 20 fire tenders were at the spot.
Radhika Diesh, store-manager of the FabIndia outlet, said, “The fire had not spread to FabIndia and Starbucks outlets, both below the NIIT centre. Water from the fire tenders, however, seeped into the shops. The guard at the Starbucks outlet detected the fire and made the call early in the morning. We detected the smoke and fire a few minutes later.”
Even as the debris in Kinari Bazaar was being cleared with around five fire tenders on standby for the night, the fire control room received a call at around 8 pm from a godown full of timber and furniture in Jaitpur, South Delhi. Three firetenders were sent there.