A minor fire broke out on the fourth floor of the Mantralaya complex a little after 12 noon on Saturday, barely nine months after a massive blaze charred the third and fourth floors of the secretariat building. Ironically, sources said the blaze was caused by some chemicals being used to renovate the building.
According to officials present, the fire broke out within a 10x10 square metre area where some chemicals had been stored. Speaking to the media later in the day, state Chief Secretary JK Banthia said no one was injured in the fire. He praised fire and police officials for their prompt response. With five fire tenders called in, the fire was quickly brought under control.
However, the tension was palpable outside the complex as the fire brigade officials got to work. Office staff from Vidhan Bhavan and the skeletal staff present in the complex itself, working on a second Saturday came downstairs and watched the firemen in action.
Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY, senior police inspector of Marine Drive police station Zunjarrao Gharal said, “Those in charge of renovation are using a special chemical which needs to be injected into the building’s walls. This chemical may have caught fire. It is still unclear what sparked the blaze, but it seems that it most probably ignited on its own.”
Gharal added that there were only a few workers present on the premises at the time, and none of them were injured. “There were no files or papers on the floor, therefore there has been no damage to property,” he added.