Kolkata: A major fire broke out early Friday at the famed Presidency University housed in the erstwhile Presidency College here that has a galaxy of luminaries as its alumni, destroying computers, documents and research material.
There were, however, no reports of any casualties as the institution was closed for the Durga Puja holidays that continues till after Diwali, police and university sources said.
Eleven fire tenders rushed to control the fire in the chemistry laboratory on the third floor of the Derozio building, they said. The blaze was brought under control after three-hours.
"The fire started at around 4 a.m. It was brought under control in three hours," a fire brigade official said.
The laboratory, one of the best in the country, suffered extensive damages and furniture, scores of documents and research materials were destroyed.
"The computers were gutted. Invaluable data of research projects stored in the computers have been lost for ever," said a professor.
The cause of the fire was yet unknown, said acting principal Amitabha Chattopadhyay.
A fire brigade official alleged that the famed institution did not have proper fire safety measures.
Founded in 1817 as Hindu College, the institution was christened Presidency College in 1855 and cradled the 19th century Bengal Renaissance.
Earlier this year, the West Bengal assembly passed a bill upgrading the 193-year-old Presidency College into a university.
The college`s alumni include Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, social reformer Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Marxist legend Jyoti Basu, economist Amartya Sen and scientist Satyendranath Bose.
The country`s first president Rajendra Prasad and present West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were also students of the prestigious college.