The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fire scare in Sector V tower

More than 700 people were evacuated from a six-storey building in the tech hub of Sector V on Monday afternoon when a fire broke out in the storeroom on its terrace, triggering panic across the floors.

The storeroom at Vishnu Chambers, beside RDB Boulevard, was stacked with inflammable items like broken chairs and tables, officials said. Built in 2004, the building houses offices of Cognizant Technology Solutions and Bharat BPO.

Nobody was injured in the fire, which occurred around 3.45pm and needed 25 minutes to be doused. Four fire engines had reached the site within five minutes of receiving a call, witnesses said.

“I was in a team meeting on the third floor when the fire alarms started ringing. At first I thought the security team was conducting a drill, but a guard came running inside and told us to immediately leave the building. I grabbed my laptop and ran down the fire exit,” said a techie employed with Cognizant.

“I was attending to a call when one of my seniors asked me to immediately leave the building, saying a fire had broken out. I took off the earphones to find fire alarms buzzing and people running. There was black smoke all around. I scampered out with my colleagues,” recounted Vinod Pradhan of Bharat BPO, which is on the sixth floor.

Pradhan and other employees — the five lower floors are all occupied by Cognizant — were allowed to return to their desks around 5.30pm after the fire brigade officials confirmed that there was no danger.

The fire brigade suspects the fire was triggered by a burning cigarette thrown into the 15x15 storeroom with wooden walls and an asbestos roof. “The room doesn’t have an electricity connection. So there was no chance of a short circuit. Someone was probably smoking on the terrace and became careless,” an official said.