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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Nine months on, another avoidable fire at Mantralaya

Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 09, 2013
First Published: 13:04 IST(9/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:29 IST(10/3/2013)

A fire broke out at Mantralaya on Saturday, nine months after one had claimed five lives, allegedly due to negligence in the renovation work being carried out after the June blaze gutted a substantial portion of the structure.

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However, this time, no one was injured.

The fire started at 12.10pm on the fourth floor, on the west side of the building, and was put out in 20 minutes.

Though the contractor in-charge of the makeover, Unity Infraprojects Ltd, claimed all safety precautions were in place, fire officials said the room was full of inflammable materials, including hanging electrical wires, which caused the fire to spread.

The blaze was restricted to an area of 800 sq ft, but created immense panic among employees nonetheless.

The polymer, used for grouting work, led to the fire after a spark from the pedestal fan. According to fire brigade officials, the chemical was spread all over the floor, along with inflammable materials like switchboards and scrap materials.

Chief secretary Jayant Banthia said, “The fire brigade engines reached the spot within three minutes. There were 509 government employees and 476 workers inside the building when the fire broke out. The evacuation was done within minutes.”

He added that the fire spread due to the use of the dry chemical powder.


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