Fire in Home Ministry, no one hurt

A fire broke out in a conference room in North Block adjoining Home Minister P Chidambaram`s office Sunday afternoon.

New Delhi: A minor fire broke out in North Block near Home Minister P Chidambaram`s office this afternoon, but there was no casualty or major damage in the incident.

The blaze broke out at an outer window of a ventilator of a stair case and the fire brigade was informed by Police Control Room at around 2:20 PM following which eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

"Fire Control informed that they got a call at 2:20 PM and the first fire engine arrived 2:27 PM. Before 2:35 PM, the fire was extinguished.

"Fire was on an outer window of a ventilator of a stair case. The cause of fire is being investigated," Home Ministry spokesperson Kuldeep Dhatwalia said.

Sources said the blaze broke out at a place which is adjacent to the offices of Chidambaram, Minister of State for Home Mullapally Ramachandran and Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanaswamy.

Chidambaram, the other ministers and officials including Home Secretary R K Singh were not present in Home Ministry when the blaze occurred.

After hearing about the incident, Chidambaram, Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta along with senior officials visited the spot.

The fire was described as "minor" by Delhi Fire Service Director A K Sharma. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained, but fire brigade officials suspect it to be a case of short circuit in an air-conditioner.

Dushyant Singh, Chief Security Officer in Home Ministry, said there was no damage to the offices of the Home Minister or any other ministers.

Sharma said the Police Control Room conveyed to the fire service that smoke was billowing out of a window in North Block following which the fire tenders were rushed. "The fire was a minor one. We have doused it," he said.
The fire was restricted to only one room, he said, but refused to speculate on the cause of the blaze.

"There were not many people inside the building. The cause could be due to some electrical (malfunction). I would not like to confirm it before ascertaining it," he said.

Soon after the blaze was detected, police had cordoned off the area.

Home Secretary Singh said the fire was not reported from any room but from a window outside a ventilator.

"The cause of fire is being investigated. There were four-five electrical cables and those cables were burnt. So one possibility which emerges is that there was a short-circuit," he said.

A senior police official said there was some garbage on the window and the fire broke out in the garbage. "Probably, there was a short-circuit in the electric cables due to heat," he said.
He said the Home Minister has asked the CFSL to look into the cause of fire.


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