Shimla’s most magnificent heritage building, Gorton Castle, housing Himachal Pardesh’s Accountant General (AG) office was gutted in a devastating fire early Tuesday morning .
The fire which started around 3 am spread through the four-storey sprawling complex build during the British Raj days, reduced the main complex into ashes.
Located next to State Vidhan Sabha, on the road leading to historic Viceregal Lodge–another equally important heritage of Shimla, Gorton Castle was renovated only few years back investing crores of rupees. It was one of Shimla’s few architectural landmarks, visited by tourists and heritage lovers.
Deputy Commissioner Shimla Dinesh Malhotra said the fire started from the top floor of the building and thereafter it spread to lower storeys . ” It ‘s difficult to know the exact cause of the fire. We will order a probe even as police have also been told to investigate” he said.
Some of the early witnesses ,who reached at the spot said the fire may have been caused by short-circuting or use of electric heating, either by the night guards or officials ,who may have left heaters on while leaving the office.
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The fire was seen engulfing the building as Shimla woke-up in shock and disbelief. More than 100 heritage buildings of Shimla have gutted in winter fires in past two decades.