A massive fire gutted the ground floor of a McDonald’s restaurant and an ATM kiosk of IndusInd Bank in Sector 18 on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.
Fire department officials suspect that a short circuit in the ATM kiosk may have led to the fire. The police are scanning the CCTV footage and investigation is going on to ascertain the cause. Three fire tenders and 15 firemen were pressed into service. Officials said that burnt notes were found near the ATM but they could not ascertain the total number of notes.
“It took us an hour to get the fire under control. The ATM and McDonald’s are located next to each other and the fire spread rapidly,” a fire department official said.
Officials said that the basement and first floor of the McDonald’s outlet remained safe but the ground floor was totally gutted.
Fire officials said that they got a call about smoke billowing out of the ATM kiosk around 12.30am on Thursday. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and by the time they reached, the fire had spread to the ground floor of the McDonald’s outlet as well.
“The bank officials have been contacted. They will tell apprise us about the amount of cash that was in the machine,” said Anil Kumar Shahi, station house officer of Sector 20 police station.
The fire alert was given by a 63-year-old guard, Ram Chander, who was sitting on a chair inside the ATM booth. He said he heard a screeching sound and saw smoke billowing out of the ATM vending machine.
“The booth got filled with smoke within minutes. Initially, I was confused on how to bring the fire under control. I found the fire extinguisher and sprayed it, but the flames went out of control,” said Chander.
Chander, a resident of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh, said he called the supervisor of his company and alerted the police and fire department as well. He said that the vending machine was refilled with cash at 7pm by officials from the branch located in the vicinity.
“Officials had refilled the machine but I don’t know how much they put in it. I was outside. Fortunately, no one was around (when the fire erupted) and no casualty was reported,” Chander said.
Meanwhile, the staff of McDonald’s who came for the morning shift were stunned to see their outlet gutted.
Rakesh, who came for the morning shift at 8.30am, said, “Most of the staff members were unaware that a fire had engulfed the building. We couldn’t see how much damage it has caused to the outlet. The fire officials who were still working for final checking did not allow us to enter.”
This outlet of McDonald’s was set up in 1997 and was India’s first drive-through restaurant. Nestled among the highrise buildings of the sector, the restaurant pioneered the entire market area, which is now known for many establishments.
Those living in Noida for several years said that the outlet was renovated several times but the building infrastructure remained the same. It was opened at a time when there were only two other restaurants in the market.
They said that the area became popular due to the McDonald’s restaurant only.
“Today, we live in an age of selfies but in the 90s, people used to flock the area to get their picture clicked with the Ronald McDonald statue. Those days, it was a new experience for everyone. Noida had a thin population and hordes of people would visit the restaurant,” said Anoop Khanna, who has been living in Noida since 1983.