For the second time in the span of a week, a fire has broken out at the Central Railway (CR) headquarters. The disaster management cell in the new annexe building at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) caught fire on Friday evening.
The disaster management cell is on the first floor – above the office of the DRM, Mumbai division. CR officials dismissed the fire as a minor incident. They said it did not disrupt train services though it took place at peak hour – 6.15pm.
The disaster management cell and fire officials attributed the fire to an electric short circuit in the two air conditioners. The furniture and carpet were burnt. The second instance happened even as the authorities submitted an internal report on last Friday's fire to their general manager, Kul Bhushan. The findings of this report are not yet known.
Despite CR's claims, Fire Brigade officials fumed and claimed the fire engines couldn't reach the spot, as there was no space to manoeuvre the heavy vehicles.
The fire tenders were parked on another road. This resulted in loss of time because they had to connect pipes to reach the spot of the fire. It took nearly 20 minutes for the fire to be doused, although CR officials said the fire was taken care of in 10 minutes. After the fire was doused, fire officials said the CR administration wanted them to immediately clear their fire tenders from the spot because it was causing inconvenience to passengers.
The CR's official press release said official records and files were intact and further investigations were on.
MC Chauhan, DRM, did not comment. But fire officials said they told the DRM about the inconvenience.
“We had to struggle a lot while getting the vehicles into the railway’s external premises. There are steel bars blocking the path of our vehicles,” said a fire official present there. He did not wish to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The bars have been placed to demarcate routes for vehicles that go to the CST long distance terminal and pedestrians who walk up to the suburban platforms on the left.
The fire officials took the railways divisional security commissioner PC Sinha to task. They demanded to know why they were not provided clear space. The fire officials complained to the DRM, who was present at the spot.
On December 9, a major fire erupted inside the CR Employees Co-operative Society office due to a gas cylinder blast. The fire caused extensive damages to the society's shop and the adjacent canteen.