Fire at Ballard Pier building
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A Grade 2 fire broke out at the Narcotics Control Bureau office at south Mumbai's Exchange Building in Ballard Pier Wednesday morning. Fire officers said no injuries were reported.
The fire, which started around 11 am on the third floor, partially engulfed the bureau's 20,000 sq ft office, destroying files, computers and furniture. The building houses other central government offices, including the Census Directorate. Prime facie, a short circuit may have caused the blaze, said fire officers.
"The situation was tense on account of the building's proximity to a petrol pump. Also, there was a lot of industrial flammable material in the old building, which resulted in the blaze spreading quickly. Timely intervention helped us control the situation," said deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale.
"We noticed smoke from the air conditioner of the third floor office around 11 am. It was spreading fast. We immediately called the fire brigade," said Vijay Deshpande who works in the neighbouring Bharat Bhavan building.
A senior NCB officer said the fire, which was brought under control by around 12.30 pm, did not cause major damage to the bureau's property. "There was no loss or damage to confiscated drugs in the maalkhana, arms and ammunition and all case files safe," the officer said.
According to Rahangdale, people vacated the structure before the fire brigade arrived. Twelve fire engines, six water tankers and special appliances were used to bring the fire under control. "These old heritage buildings were constructed before fire safety norms came into place. Owners of such buildings can opt for installing fire safety mechanisms but we cannot prosecute them if they don't," he said.
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