A major fire broke out on the third floor of the Exchange Building in Ballard Estate yesterday at 11.30 am. The building houses various governmental offices and according to authorities, the blaze, began in the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Fire department officials immediately rushed to the spot and it took 70 officials, 12 fire engines and three tankers to douse the flames, which spread over 2,000 square feet. After tiring efforts, officials were able to put out the blaze approximately at 1.35 pm.
Officials working in the building claim that a short circuit in the air conditioning unit on the third floor may have caused the blaze. An official, on condition of anonymity, said, “It is an old building and there were probably leaks in the wall which may have caused the short circuit.” Additionally, the official added that the wooden furniture only made it easier for the flames to spread causing much damage.
P S Rahandale, deputy chief fire officer, said, “The fire was a serious one and could have caused much damage. However, the fire department reached in time and took control of the situation,” adding, “We are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.”
Recalling the incident, Sagar Torne, who works on the fourth floor and who managed to escape, said, “When we heard of a fire on the third floor, we immediately began to evacuate. As we were exiting via the stairs, we saw the fire and heard a small blast. I later heard my colleagues claiming it might have been a gas cylinder which might have exploded.”