A major fire broke out on the third floor of the four story Exchange Building at Ballard Pier on Wednesday.
Nobody was injured in the fire, which was brought under control in around two hours by the fire brigade with the help of 12 fire engines and 10 water tankers.
The commercial building, listed as a heritage structure, housed several important central and state government offices such as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), institute of government accounts and finance, regional training department of animal husbandry, dairying and fishing, ministry of corporate affairs and directorate of census operations, among others.
Three rooms were completely gutted on the third floor of the building, where the NCB has its offices, confirmed a fire officer at the spot, requesting anonymity.
“We noticed smoke coming out of the window, so all employees rushed out of the building. Within 15 minutes, the fire became bigger and most of the third floor was engulfed,” said an employee who works on the second floor of the building.
The reason for the fire is yet to be identified.
“Officers are investigating the cause of the fire. A report will be submitted in three to seven days,” said Suhas Joshi, chief fire officer.
Employees in the building claimed the rooms that caught fire are kept locked as seized drug consignments are stored there.
The fire has caused a lot of damage to internal structural and property.
“The rooms were locked when the fire broke out. The fire has damaged all materials and computers,” said a fire officer.
Dr SS Hiremath, joint director, directorate of census operations in Maharashtra, said the census office has not seen any major loss except that water has seeped in as it was used to douse the fire. “As far as our documents are concerned, they are safe at the Turbhe and Ambernath godowns,” he said.