New Delhi: A fire that broke out at the Times of India building in Central Delhi’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg on Sunday afternoon took over 24 hours to douse.
Cooling operations continued until late on Monday night even as fire fighters kept an eye out for cabins and shelves where there was a likelihood of fire continuing. Only in May last year, another fire had broken out in the fourth floor of the same building.
“The dense smoke and the darkness inside the building hampered our operations. Whenever we thought we had controlled the blaze, we would spot flames somewhere else,” said Atul Garg, chief fire officer.
Fire fighters said they had expected to control the situation by Sunday night itself but did not know that the worst awaited them on Monday.
Huge flames, combined with thick fumes, could be seen at the blaze site around 2 pm on Monday, but the fire fighters claimed they were able to take control quickly after that.
At any time through Monday, over 20 fire tenders were being used either to fight the flames or were kept on standby. The fire fighters used hydraulic ladders and gas cutters to control the fire.
The police and civil defence volunteers had a tough time managing the crowd as curious onlookers gathered on the roads near the building to capture videos.
While the fire department said there were no casualties, an official with the Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd said they were yet to assess the damage.
“We have not been allowed access to the building. It will take us time to conclusively assess the damage we have suffered,” said the official.
He said the news organisation’s employees worked either from their homes or from their other offices located in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida and the newspaper will go for print.
The fire control room said they had first received a call about the fire at 4.45 pm on Sunday. While the exact trigger is yet to be probed, fire fighters suspected that the blaze started in the server room located on the first floor.