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Blaze at DVC building

Maithon, Nov. 11: Equipment and property worth over Rs 1.5 crore were gutted when a fire broke out in the control room of the central load dispatch building of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) here.

Six fire-tenders from Asansol, Durgapur and Dhanbad were pressed into service to contain the blaze. Preliminary reports cited short-circuit as the possible cause of the fire.

Chief engineer and project head K.G. Hussnain said that around 8.50 am, he received information that a fire had broken out in the building. A fire-tender from Asansol was the first to arrive but after nearly two hours.

Almost the entire building had caught fire by then, rendering the single fire engine ineffective. “Altogether six fire tenders were pressed into service. These were rushed from Asansol, Durgapur and Dhanbad. The real cause behind the accident is being probed. Prima facie, it appears that the fire broke out because of a short-circuit,” the Central Industrial Security Force deputy inspector-general, H.V. Chaturvedi, said.

A probe will look into charges that the fire could have originated from a heater used to prepare tea for some officials at the air-conditioned control room.

“The DVC management has constituted a high-level committee to probe the accident. We will tell them to carefully examine this aspect as well,” Hussnain said.

He added that director (technical) A.K. Sil and deputy chief engineer Ajay Kumar Singh are expected to arrive from Calcutta tomorrow. “I cannot say much on the incident at the moment. An FIR has been lodged with the Maithon police station,” Hussnain said.

Maithon police station officer-in-charge Kamlesh Paswan, however, said he had not received any written complaint from the DVC officials till 4 pm. “I was due to visit the building this morning for some official work. Suddenly, I noticed smoke emanating from the building. I rushed there and was shocked to find that building had caught fire,” he said.

“At that time, no one was available there. Being a holiday, most of the DVC officials were away. I informed my seniors in Dhanbad and helped them fight the fire with gas-turbine fire extinguishers. But they were not much effective. The local boys did a commendable job,” Paswan added.

Refusing to comment on the losses caused by the fire, Hussnain said the control room became functional in 1969.

“Since then, several additions were made to it. It is for the first time that the control room caught fire. We will be in a position give exact figures of the losses after two to three days,” he added.

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