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Files gutted in fire at secretariat room

Bhubaneswar, June 16: Fire broke out at three different places in the city, including the state secretariat, today.

In the fire that broke out in the state secretariat, files, furniture and computers in the chamber of the private secretary of the panchayati raj secretary were gutted. The two other incidents took place at a scrap yard near Mali Sahi and in a Satsang Vihar slum.

Fire officials suspected that a short circuit in an air conditioner led to the fire in the panchayati raj department housed in an old wing of the secretariat. Some employees of the secretariat, who had reached the office early, saw smoke coming out of the room and informed the fire brigade.

Two fire tenders doused the flames, but by then several files had gutted. However, no one was injured in the incident as it took place before office hours.

Incidents of fire mishap are not new to government buildings such as state secretariat, Rajiv Bhavan and head of the departments building, commonly known as Natala. While in May last year, a fire broke out in the health department at the secretariat, another fire mishap took place in April last year at Rajiv Bhavan, which houses the water resources and agriculture departments and the office of the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority.

Similarly, a fire mishap took place in the building of the directorate of agriculture and food production at Natala in October 2011.

Absence of proper fire-fighting measures, along with old electrical wiring, have made the government buildings vulnerable to fire mishap. Keeping an eye on the vulnerability of government buildings, the state government has set up a fire station near the state secretariat.

In the second incident there was panic at Mali Sahi, one of the largest slums in the city, when a fire broke out in a nearby scrap yard this afternoon. The fire led to melting of electric wires passing through the place. However, timely arrival of fire tenders brought the flames under control.

In March last year, a fire had gutted more than 400 houses at Malisahi.

“As many as three fire tenders were deployed to control the flames. Twenty-five fire personnel were engaged and it took us more than an hour to control the fire,” said assistant fire officer, Bhubaneswar, Ramesh Chandra Majhi.

In the third incident, a fire broke out in a house in a slum near Satsang Vihar this evening. Fire officials suspect short circuit caused the mishap. Two fire tenders were pressed into service to control the flames.