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CISF officer dies trying to put out fifth-floor blaze at CGO complex

After DFS gained access to the building using two Bronto Skylifts and controlled the fire in two hours, they found Mahavir dead on the fifth floor, next to a fire extinguisher.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi | Updated: March 7, 2019 12:49:29 am
Fire breaks out at CGO Complex in New Delhi; 24 fire tenders at the spot Firefighters from over 14 stations were deputed; (right) Mahavir Prasad Godana. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

A 53-year-old sub-inspector, posted with the CISF, died while trying to extinguish a fire that broke out on the fifth floor of Antyodaya Bhawan in CGO complex Wednesday morning.

Mahavir Prasad Godana, posted with the building security unit at Antyodaya Bhawan, was the shift in-charge when the blaze broke out at Wing-I, which houses the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment office.

Once the CISF Quick Response Team noticed the smoke, the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) was called. Mahavir, meanwhile, started evacuating the premises with a group of CISF officers, but was reportedly hit by a falling object. While he couldn’t escape, he asked his colleagues to hurry out of the building. “He died saving our lives. He could not move and the lift was not working,” said a CISF officer.

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After DFS gained access to the building using two Bronto Skylifts and controlled the fire in two hours, they found Mahavir dead on the fifth floor, next to a fire extinguisher. One of the firefighters said, “It appears he got trapped in the dense smoke and died of asphyxiation.”

Firefighters said the blaze spread due to office material like paper and the wooden partitions separating cubicles. More than half of the B-1 wing was gutted and several documents were destroyed, DFS said.

“Many documents inside sliding iron almirahs caught fire due to the heat. We had to break open the almirahs and douse the flames,” said a senior fire officer.

A case was registered under IPC sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) and 304-(A) (causing death due to negligence) at Lodhi Road police station, DCP (south) Vijay Singh said. Chief Fire Officer, DFS, Atul Garg said, “CISF officers told us the fire broke out due to an electric short circuit.”

The fire call was received at 8.34 am, and Safdarjung station firefighters were pressed into service. “By the time we reached, smoke was coming out from the fifth floor and the fire had intensified. It was a high-rise building so we called in the Bronto Skylifts,” said a senior firefighter.

Two skylifts tried to gain access to the complex, but could not enter the main gate due to sharp bends and parked vehicles. “We used another entrance. The Bronto Skylift from the front end started operations, but the one on the rear end could not since we thought there was a sewer line beneath us and the foundation was not strong,” said Station Officer (Connaught Place) Rajiv Kumar Shukla.

The blaze on the fifth floor was controlled, while firefighters from Safdarjung fire station gained access through the reception area.

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