Valuable records were gutted in a major fire that broke out in the basement of the Sector 22-B branch of Bank of Baroda here. Staff members rushed out of the bank in panic.Fire officials said sparking in the UPS system kept in the basement possibly caused the fire.
Fire fighters trying to douse the fire at Bank of Baroda Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Friday. Gurminder Singh/HT
valuable records were lost in the fire that broke around noon, the bank officials said the lockers were safe. Four fire tenders were rushed to the spot, which managed to douse the flames after a hectic exercise of nearly three hours.
The bank was found violating building and fire safety norms and has been issued notices under section 6 (3) of fire safety and prevention Act, 1986.
Chief fire officer Rajeev Gupta said since the fire broke out in the basement, the firemen faced great difficulty in entering the building. Besides, the bank had blocked the backyard of the building with iron grills, built cabins in the basement in violations of rules and had failed to install fire equipment. "We have issued notices to bank and the owner of the building for several violations," Gupta said.
Saying the preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was caused due to sparking in the UPS system, Gupta said the fire spread quickly as papers lying close to the UPS caught fire. He said the actual loss was yet to be ascertained.
The staff members said office furniture, computers and some records were gutted. Though the actual loss is yet to be ascertained, staff members said cash lying on one of the tables for routine counting was also lost in the fire.
According to the fire norms, each building has to be equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and sprinklers in the basement and a water tank on the roof of the building for emergency supply in case of a fire besides operational pressure pumps. Notably, the banks are required to carry out regular inspections on the working of its fire safety equipment.