Two cars were gutted in the parking area of Ivory Towers, a six-storey residential building, in Sector 70 after a suspected short-circuit in one of the vehicles — a Tata Safari — led to a fire that raged on for more than 20 minutes. Residents panicked as the fire also led to the blast of two gas cylinders kept near the cars. Two fire brigade vehicles had to be called in.
No one was injured in the fire, but the loud noise from the blasts and the accompanying smoke that engulfed the building led to poor visibility.
Sensing that the situation could be life-threatening, neighbours helped three residents of the first floor get to the ground floor using ladders.
“I heard loud cries and shouts of fire and before I could react, smoke had enveloped the building and visibility became very poor. We thought it wise to reach the ground floor. A neighbour helped me come down the balcony using a ladder,” said seven-year-old Dev Raj, who had got stuck on the first floor. Gurbachan Kaur (78) and Manisha (32) also came down the ladder.
Short circuit led to fire
“It was a short circuit in the car that caused the fire, later leading to the cylinder blasts. Residents have stored cylinders in the parking area with cars parked next to these. Safety is always compromised by this,” said fire officer Devinder Singh Dogra.
“We have asked the forensic team that visited the spot to submit a report. Action will be taken only after we received the report,” said DSP (city) Alam Vijay Singh.
Source said that the residents had a lucky escape this time, but fire safety guidelines at the building had been ignored. Part of the parking is being used as store by residents to store inflammable old wooden furniture and paper. Even though fire safety equipment is installed, most building residents are not trained in handling it.