New Delhi: A major fire broke out in the Parliament House complex on Sunday afternoon, damaging an air conditioning plant adjacent to the reception area where welding work was in progress. No one was injured in the incident.
The blaze was controlled within half an hour as 12 fire tenders were pressed into service. The incident occurred within two days of parliament going into recess after the first half of the budget session.
The blaze was reported at 2.20 p.m., triggering panic among the security personnel deployed on the premises. A thick cloud of smoke billowed out of the red stone colonial era building complex.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan sought a detailed report over the incident while President Pranab Mukherjee expressed his "serious concern".
This was the second incident of fire in the Parliament House complex in the last 10 days.
Delhi Fire Services Director A.K. Sharma said the fire broke out in all the three units of the plant.
"Fire broke out in all the three units of the air-conditioning plant installed in an open park near the reception area outside gate No.8 of parliament," Sharma told IANS.
"Welding work was being done at the AC plant. And it seems a spark might have fallen on some inflammable material which caused the fire," he said.
Delhi Police said an inquiry has been launched into the incident.
"An inquiry is being conducted. However, no case has been registered so far," Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena told IANS.
Reacting to the incident, President Mukherjee said "the complete safety and security of the Parliament House complex must be ensured at all times".
An official statement said Mukherjee called upon the authorities concerned to conduct an urgent inquiry into the cause of the fire and take necessary steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
"Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has expressed concern and asked for a detailed report," the Lok Sabha Secretariat said.