New Delhi: A major fire broke out in the middle of Ring Road near Sri Venkateswara College in South Delhi after metro construction work damaged a Gas Authority of India (GAIL) pipeline on Friday. The fire was accompanied by a series of minor blasts. No one was injured but several cars were gutted.
The incident triggered huge traffic jams in South Delhi as the police diverted traffic from the affected area.
“We received a call at 10.30am and immediately 10 fire tenders were sent to the spot. Since the fire broke out right in the middle of Ring Road in peak hours, rescue operations were hampered,” said a senior fire services official.
Eye witnesses said the incident took place around 10.15am when shopkeepers were preparing to open their shops.
“I had just opened my shop and was cleaning the place when I heard a blast. I went outside to see what had happened and saw the entire space covered in smoke. Someone called the fire department and alerted the police,” said Ravinder Sharma, owner of a stationery shop opposite Sri Venkateswara College.
Fire-fighters took over two hours to douse the flames and shops in the area remained closed till the cooling process was over.
Officials from GAIL said gas supply to the pipeline was put off to help contain the flames and avoid a tragedy.
“The explosion and the fire happened when third party contractors working for Delhi Metro dug up the area,” GAIL officials said.
To help fire officials douse the flames, traffic movement was stopped at Rao Tula Ram Marg. Vehicles coming from Safdarjung Hospital and heading towards Dhaula Kuan were diverted near Hyatt Hotel towards Sarojini Nagar and RK Puram.
This resulted in massive traffic holdups in the city.