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Short-circuit: 2 dead,3 hurt in blaze at ministry building

Two employees of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research were killed due to asphyxiation and two others were seriously injured when a fire broke out at the office building on Thursday evening.

Two employees of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were killed due to asphyxiation and two others were seriously injured when a fire broke out at the office building on Thursday evening.

The fire broke out on the third floor of Anusandhan Bhavan,the police said.

The deceased have been identified as K B Joshi (45),a Section Officer in Finance Department,and Satish Kumar (45),a peon.

According to police,among the injured are a cameraman of a local TV channel,Om Prakash (45),an office peon,and Ranvir Singh,a lower division clerk. All three are in RML Hospital; doctors said Om Prakash is critical.

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The blaze was reported from the third floor at 7.06 pm when senior ministry officials were present in the building. Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan,who sits in the second floor,was not present in the building at the time of incident,police officials said.

“The fire was first reported from the air-conditioner duct,” a senior officer said. “This spread to the entire floor — four employees were trapped on the fourth floor after they ran upstairs when the fire broke out.”

Fourteen fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

Samir Brahmachari,director-general of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),who was in his office when the fire broke out,took those rescued to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital,the police said.

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According to officers,the fire was doused within two hours but four persons were trapped on the fourth floor — they were rescued after three hours. Three of them were unconscious when they were rescued,a senior officer said.

“Of the three,two were declared dead on arrival at the hospital,” the officer said. “These people were on the third floor when the fire broke out. In an attempt to escape,they ran to the fourth floor where they were trapped.”

A hydraulic ladder was brought to the spot but it could not reach those trapped as they moved to the building’s rear,he said. One of the persons trapped at the rear was rescued after a few people along with fire department officials took the stairs to the fourth floor.

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“We were on the second floor when the fire broke,” a witness said. “Since repair work with a gas cutter were going on,we did not pay attention to the smoke at first.

An official said the victims died mainly because they were exposed to smoke over a long time.

A senior officer said the exact cause of fire was not known immediately though they suspect it was caused by a short circuit. “We are investigating the cause of fire,” the official said. “As the power was turned off after the incident,many people could not find a route to escape.”

A CSIR official said there were some repair works going on in the third floor.

(With PTI inputs)

First published on: 24-07-2009 at 12:48:49 am
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