Gutted Bhagirath Palace building could be razed

It took firefighters almost two days to extinguish the blaze at Bhagirath Palace electrical goods market in Chandni Chowk and begin "cooling" operations in the gutted building, where the fire started on Thursday evening in a godown stacked with highly inflammable cables and plastic material.

On Saturday, the North Municipal Corporation decided to press in structural safety engineers to examine two buildings which got destroyed in the fire.

The corporation is awaiting clearance from the fire service to let its engineers check the stability of the buildings.

The corporation's commissioner P K Gupta said: "We will wait for the engineers' report. If it is found dangerous, we may demolish it." Since buildings in the area are dangerously close to one another, sometimes only a couple of inches separating them, residents feared that demolition of the gutted building could damage the other houses.

But Gupta claimed that the engineers would ensure that the adjacent buildings were safe if the need arose to demolish one building."We know that there is no space between buildings. We will demolish only the damaged portions. We cannot let the building stand in its present state. That will be dangerous," the commissioner said. Fire chief A K Sharma said his men have managed to douse the burning material under the debris, but won't let their guards down until the building cools down completely.

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