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Girls’ hostel room gutted in Panjab University; second incident in 7 months

No one injured: The room in Sarojini Naidu Hall was locked; both occupants were on the ground floor when the fire broke out at 2:30pm; short circuit or loose wiring suspected to be the cause.

punjab Updated: Jan 15, 2018 11:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Girls’ hostel room,hostel room gutted,Panjab University
The gutted room (No. 34) on the second floor of girls’ hostel number 3 — Sarojini Naidu Hall in Panjab University in Chandigarh on Saturday.(HT Photo)

Seven months after the Panjab University (PU) administrative building caught fire, one of the hostel rooms was reduced to ashes, here on Saturday.

Room number 34 on the second floor of the girls hostel number 3, Sarojni Naidu Hall, caught fire while the residents were on the ground floor. The incident took place at 2:30 pm and the room was locked. The room was shared by two girls.

According to the officials, one of the occupants, a postgraduate student of English department, rushed to the room after noticing smoke and flames coming out of the room informed the hostel warden, who in turn called the fire brigade and the police.

The fire brigade reached the campus at 3 pm and by 3:30 pm, the fire was under control.

PU chief security officer Ashwani Kaul said, “The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. The room has burned completely and the adjacent rooms were also affected.”

“Due to smoke, the adjacent rooms were evacuated and students are shifting with their friends. The students, whose room was burnt have been given an option of shifting with their friends in other hostels. But they will be brought back,” Kaul said. “We will sit with the occupants to access their losses,” he said. Sources said, loose wiring in the hostels or short circuit could have led to the fire.

Smoke billowing out of the gutted room (No. 34) on the second floor of girls’ hostel number 3 — Sarojini Naidu Hall — at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Saturday. (HT Photo)

‘Room had heater’

However, dean students welfare Emanual Nahar, said that had the student informed the warden earlier instead of trying to control the fire herself, the damage would have been less. “When she realized that the fire was uncontrollable, she informed the officials. We still managed to save a lot.”

“Only the doors and windows of the adjacent room have been affected. Also there was a heater in the room,” said Nahar.

Student council general secretary Vani Sood said, “The dean students welfare should set up a committee to look into the matter. Fortunately, there was no one in the room.” “Hostellers have been complaining that even though there are fire extinguishers on every floor but the residents don’t know how to use it,” Sood said.

Student council joint secretary Karanbir Singh Randhawa said, “The investigation is underway.We will look into getting the wiring of the hostel checked. The hostel building is also old. We have requested the vice-chancellor to compensate the affected students, to which he has agreed.”

PU issues statement in evening

Even though the incident took place in the afternoon, the university issued a statement in the evening stating that a major fire was averted by prompt and swift action by UT fire brigade.

Dean students welfare (women) professor Neena Capalash, DSW professor Emmanuel Nahar, chief security officer professor Ashwani Kaul and security staff reached the site by 3pm, followed by vice-chancellor professor Arun Grover, registrar Col G S Chadha, senator professor Ronki Ram, former DSW professor Ahluwalia and professor Sidhu.

The statement further read, “There was no physical injury to any individual. The police officials are yet to submit its findings and report. Arrangements have been made for the stay of the affected girls at the university guest house.”

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 12:13 IST