Chavan, Bhujbal inspect fire-ravaged MantralayaJune 23rd, 2012 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) Two days after a huge fire ravaged the Maharashtra state secretariat, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Public Works Department Minister Chhagan Bhujbal inspected the Mantralaya here Saturday.
Making separate trips, Chavan and Bhujbal entered the Mantralaya, resembling a haunted building, wearing helmets and walked cautiously over burnt debris, sludge, broken pieces of furniture and fittings scattered all over the once-bustling state government headquarters.
The Thursday fire, which raged on for nearly 27 hours, claimed five lives and injured 16, including chief minister’s spokesman Satish Lalit and Home Minister R.R. Patil’s spokesman Kishore Gangurde.
The Public Works Department, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the fire brigade are conducting a safety and structural audit of the 5,17,000 square feet building since Friday. The audit is likely to be over by Sunday.
Besides, Mumbai police have set up four teams to find out the cause behind the fire and ascertain whether it was accident, negligence or sabotage, as claimed by some quarters.
According to a preliminary assessment, officials said the air-conditioners and ducts, gas cylinders, plywood panels, electrical wirings of computers and other fittings, wooden furniture, huge quantities of paper and other combustible and inflammable articles might have helped the fire spread rapidly.
Fire officials said the temperatures during the fire went up to nearly 700 degrees Celsius, which could have damaged or softened the iron in the building’s concrete beams and columns, raising questions of the structural safety of the seven-storey Mantralaya.
However, the chief minister’s chamber on the sixth floor escaped major damage since it was protected by thick wooden doors and panels.
While the LCD TV was damaged, a writing pad on Chavan’s table was found intact, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said after inspecting the floor Friday.
Chief Fire Officer S.V. Joshi said no final statements could be made till the audit was over.
Fire officials are also trying to ascertain whether the fire fighting equipment in the Mantralaya was in working condition.
Chavan said everything would be revealed in the ongoing investigations.
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- Mantralaya resumes work after four days - Jun 25, 2012
- Mantralaya to be functional in three months, says Bhujbal - Jun 23, 2012
- Mantralaya blaze: Chavan says fire controlled, orders probe (Lead) - Jun 21, 2012
- Mantralaya fire continues second day - Jun 22, 2012
- Chavan reviews situation after Mantralaya blaze - Jun 21, 2012
- Mantralaya fire toll rises to five (Second Lead) - Jun 22, 2012
- RTI activist alleges sabotage in Mantralaya fire - Jun 22, 2012
- Fire-ravaged Mantralaya to get new look - Aug 30, 2012
- A day after fire, Mantralaya staffers kept out - Jun 22, 2012
- Dozens trapped in burning Mantralaya, navy called (Lead) - Jun 21, 2012
- Two killed, 16 injured in Mantralaya fire (Intro Night Lead) (With images) - Jun 22, 2012
- Mantralaya fire: toll climbs to three (Lead) - Jun 22, 2012
Tags: ajit pawar, chhagan bhujbal, chief fire officer, concrete beams, deputy chief minister, electrical wirings, gas cylinders, government headquarters, lalit, maharashtra state, mantralaya mumbai, mumbai police, plywood panels, prithviraj, seven storey, state secretariat, structural safety, thick wooden doors, wooden furniture, writing pad