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Committee to probe what caused two fires at NCL lab in three hours; foul play, sabotage ruled out

NCL director Ashwini Kumar Nangia has constituted an investigation committee to probe the incident.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
March 29, 2017 5:42:09 am

Barely 13 months after it was inaugurated by Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Indus MAGIC lab has been completely reduced to ashes, following the fire on Monday night at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory.

Seven fire tenders managed to bring the massive fire at the 10,000 sq-ft lab, which broke out at about 8 pm, under control, but another fire was reported at 10.45 pm on the ground floor of the same building. The on-site firefighting team managed to douse the second fire immediately. There were no casualties in the two fires, and the exact cause behind the incident is yet to be established.

NCL director Ashwini Kumar Nangia has constituted an investigation committee to probe the incident. The team comprises senior NCL scientists, security officials, medical officers, and safety experts.

On Tuesday, at a three-hour-long high-level meeting that was attended by senior safety officials and senior scientists, the director took stock of the situation. “The investigation committee will collect required facts and evidences from the spot and will submit a detailed report shortly,” said a press statement issued by the director’s office on Tuesday. Initial investigation has ruled out any possibility of foul play.

“Our team visited the spot and conducted a primary probe. As of now, there is nothing that points to foul play, sabotage or negligence. An incident of fire has been recorded but no criminal case has been filed till now. If any new facts come to the fore, they will be taken into consideration,” said Senior Inspector Dayanand Dhome of Chatuhshrungi police station.

NCL is equipped with 58 security officers; three of them are permanent staffers of the lab. They take care of the NCL premises, and guard the entrance gates of both the lab and residential complexes; they have little role in safeguarding the individual labs on the campus.

“We operate in three shifts, with about 16 personnel working per shift. We require more manpower to maintain this huge campus,” said one of the security personnel, who has been working at NCL for 18 years, on condition of anonymity.

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