Late night blaze guts Delhi's Natural History museum

The fire broke out on the top floor of the museum where some repair work was underway and quickly spread; several exhibits have been gutted

New Delhi: A massive fire destroyed the National Museum of Natural History in FICCI building in central Delhi in the wee hours yesterday, with many exhibits like herpetological specimens and taxidermied animals gutted.

The museum is located in the FICCI Building at Mandi House
The museum is located in the FICCI Building at Mandi House

Six fire officials were rushed to hospital after they inhaled excessive smoke during the four-hour operation to control the blaze that broke out at 1:45 am. Their condition is said to be stable now, officials said. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who visited the spot, described the fire mishap as “unfortunate” and ordered a safety audit of all museums under his ministry.

A four-hour operation was conducted to control the blaze that broke out at 1:45 am. Pics/PTI
A four-hour operation was conducted to control the blaze that broke out at 1:45 am. Pics/PTI

Javadekar said the museum was operating out of a FICCI property. “This is a rented property. It’s not the ministry’s property, but a FICCI property. Therefore, we have limitations. The issue is that this is a real loss and we will assess the loss when the building is again handed over to us,” he said.

The fire broke out on the top floor of the museum, located in FICCI Building in Mandi House, where some repair work was underway and quickly spread to all other floors of the building. As many as 35 fire tenders were pressed into service.

It took firefighters more than four hours to douse the blaze after which a cooling operation was launched which lasted for another few hours, a fire official said. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, a senior police official said.

170
Number of fire fighters who helped douse the fire

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