The open-air rooftop wing of a Connaught Place restaurant collapsed on Saturday night, fuelling fears about the safety of the Capital’s popular British-era shoppers’ stop as a section of another building had caved in 10 days ago.
The latest incident was reported around 9.30pm at Cafe Unplugged, located at L Block in the middle circle of the three-ringed signature market that was teeming with a large Saturday crowd.
The roof came down, but the eatery staff evacuated the patrons quickly, sources said. The building is adjacent to Odeon theatre.
The restaurant management contended that the roof was not part of the establishment.
“We have nothing to do with the collapsed ceiling that was next door. It is part of a vacant property, locked by the landlord for over a decade,” the general manager said.
The Delhi fire service said it received a call around 10.35pm about “a wall collapse near Odeon” and sent fire engines immediately. Police and member of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority were already there before the fire trucks arrived.
“We received a call from someone inside the theatre saying they heard a loud thud. We rushed to the spot but by the time we reached they had already evacuated the place,” a disaster management official said.
The incident triggered panic among the people, mostly diners. “Everyone was running,” said Robin George, a diner at the scene.
Police started an investigation, while an official of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) said full details would be known by Sunday morning.
The NDMC has shut down the rooftop sections of 21 open-air restaurants after the previous incident at C Block. Unplugged was on the list too.
The civic agency had formed a six-member panel, comprising structural safety experts from IIT-Delhi, to ascertain the reason behind the roof collapse.