The fire safety mechanism of the National Museum of Natural History in FICCI building was “not functioning” which could have controlled the fire that broke out in the wee hours today, fire service officials said. “The fire safety systems were there but they were not functioning at the time when we tried to operate them. Had they been working, the fire would have been curtailed at the earliest time,” Deputy Fire Chief Rajesh Panwar said.
“Had the fire system been working it would be easier to control the fire at the earliest time because we had to depend on our resources only,” he said.
The flames have been completely doused and other buildings in FICCI auditorium are safe. Only the National Museum of Natural History building has been damaged, the official said.
The fire which broke out on the top floor of the museum at around 1.45 AM, located in FICCI Building at Mandi House, where some repair work was underway and quickly spread to lower floors of the building, damaging the specimens kept there.
As many as 35 fire tenders were pressed into service. It took firefighters more than four hours to douse the blaze after which a cooling operation was launched which lasted for another few hours, a fire official said.
Six fire officials were rushed to hospital after they inhaled excessive smoke. Their condition is said to be stable, officials said.
The industry body FICCI said the cause of the fire is being investigated and thanked the Delhi Fire Service for its quick response in bringing the situation under control.
“Luckily, no one was present inside the building when the incident occurred. Federation house, which is the FICCI office building, and FICCI auditorium were not affected by the incident” FICCI said in a statement. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, a senior police official said.