INDIAN INSTITUTE of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, in its interim report on the fire that broke out in the Administrative Block of Panjab University on May 14, has informed the authorities that the second floor should not be used for official purposes on a regular basis.
In the report released by the team headed by Dr Umesh Kumar Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, said, “The portion on the second floor shall not be used as a precaution to avoid any further spalling in the fire-affected first floor due to the movement of people or dragging of furniture or other things on the second floor. The fire-affected first floor should be kept out of bounds for general public.”
Around 3 am on May 14, fire engulfed the columns of the accounts section on the first floor of the administrative building of the university. Students at the library raised the alarm, following which security guard Jatinder Singh informed the authorities. The fire lasted for over three hours and firefighters finally managed to douse the flames with the help of nine fire tenders.
The report further states, “It is recommended to put structural steel props in the fire-affected portion of the first floor. Props shall be put to the ends of the beams close to the column faces. The engineering staff of PU shall continuously monitor the columns, beams, and slabs in the fire-affected portion and if any further crack or detection is noted, then the undersigned shall be informed immediately. This shall be done till final repair and restoration are completed.”
Panjab University (PU) officials had approached the IIT officials to inspect the damaged building after the fire. The team visited the campus on May 19 and stayed for three days as they took samples of beams, columns, plaster and flooring.
Report from the IIT experts also stated that the fire-affected portion of the building was repairable. Core results show enough strength in the principal load-carrying members of the fire-affected parts though the integrity of the concrete has been affected by the fire at many places as indicated by the UPV results.
The final report from the IIT experts is expected to be out next week. According to sources, the interim report was also discussed at the Syndicate meeting on May 28. Meanwhile, officials from IIT Roorkee will guide the Panjab University officials in the repair work of the administrative block.