New Delhi: A major fire broke out at a multi-storey building housing bank offices near Parliament Street here on Wednesday.
The fire erupted in the head office of Punjab National Bank at 4:45 pm.
The building named UCO Bank Bhawan, is located near Akashwani Bhawan and Nirwachan Sadan and is 300 metres away from the Parliament.
People including bank officials and customers got trapped inside the blaze-hit building.
At least 20 fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the fire and rescue operations started in full swing to evacuate the people from the fire-hit building.
Thick plumes of smoke were seen billowing out of 4th floor of the building.
While some people were lucky enough to exit the building before fire spread out, some remained stuck inside for an hour as the exit gate was engulfed in dense smoke.
They were later evacuated out by rescue workers who broke the window panes and rescued them from the top floor of the building.
Two hydraulic elevators were pressed into service by fire brigade officials as part of the rescue operations.
According to initial reports, a short circuit might have caused the fire.
Police had to block traffic on parts of Ashoka Road and Parliament Street to avoid any hassle in rescue operations.
MS Siddhu, Medical Superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said only one person was brought to the facility for treatment. "His case is not a serious. He inhaled smoke and felt uneasy," he said.
According to fire brigade officials, 250-300 people were inside the building when the fire broke out.
Eye-witnesses said they heard a blast in the ground floor of the building and later found that fire had engulfed an air- conditioner.
"The fire started from the generator room on the ground floor and the smoke spread out from there to the top floors, trapping people. We deployed 23 fire brigades, 2-3 monkey ladders and two rescue responder or cranes in the operation," A K Sharma, Director of Delhi Fire Service, said.
Police and fire brigade officials suspect a short circuit is the cause of the blaze.
Sharma said the building had got a fire safety clearance for the first time in 1994. "But when was last time it was upgraded, I have to check the records. Also, the condition of the fire-fighting facility inside the building needs to be probed."
With PTI inputs