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Archive for April, 2016

Fire guts Delhi’s natural history museum

The entire collection at Delhi’s natural history museum has been destroyed in a fire, officials have confirmed.


The blaze, which began sometime after 1.30am on Tuesday, burned through the upper part of the museum, where the museum’s collection was housed.

Firefighters were able to bring the flames under control before it reached the museum offices on the ground floor, mezzanine and first floor.

A spokesperson from Delhi’s fire service told the Guardian that the call was taken at about 2am, adding: “The museum was closed at the time so there were no casualties.”

“We are still not sure how the fire started but eyewitnesses say it started on the top of the building. The water system in the building was not working, and we had to arrange for water to be brought from a nearby metro station – that was the reason there was so much damage. If the water was working we could have saved a lot more of the building.”

Two firefighters were injured, but both have been released from hospital.

One of the highlights of the collection was an irreplaceable bone from a sauropod dinosaur, which was an estimated 160 million years old. It may have belonged to one of the largest animals to have walked the earth.

Rahul Khot, the curator of the Bombay Natural History Society’s collection, said: “This is an irreversible loss. Museums are not made up overnight; it takes effort over decades to collect, research and curate a museum.

Khot said it could take decades before a new collection for the museum was amassed again. “These are invaluable items. All museums have things which are very old, and very hard to put a monetary value on,” he said.

“This is a big loss for society and the nation. Many people use museums for education. It can’t be remade overnight.”

Plans to move the museum’s collection to a state-of-the-art facility were under way after a scathing report in 2012 by the government’s public accounts committee raised concerns about the maintenance of the museum.

A parliamentary panel had criticised the environment ministry for the “pathetic functioning” of the museum.

The minister of environment, who visited the remains of the museum on Tuesday morning, said: “I have asked for an energy and fire audit of all establishments of the ministry across the country.

“Plans will be made for how the museum is to be restored. First we have to assess the loss, then we can decide how to restore the museum.”

According to a spokesperson for the environment ministry, the building in which the collection was housed was managed by Ficci, a lobby group for Indian businesses.

Ficci and authorities at the natural history museum could not be reached for comment.

The museum, which was established in 1972, had a collection of preserved butterflies and reptiles, taxidermy, and a life-sized model of a dinosaur.

Source: the guardian



Short circuit sparks major fire in a building at Kozhikode

A major fire broke out at a jewellery manufacturing unit in Kozhikode on Sunday, 24th April 2016.

The massive fire broke out at the Lulu Gold jewellery-making factory on Pavamani road in the city. So far, none is reported as injured.

The building where the fire is spreading has 12 gas cylinders saved in its top floor and there are two petrol bunks in close proximity.

The police have been evacuating people from the building and places nearby.  All the fire engines in the district have assembled at the spot, trying to douse the blaze.

Due to the presence of gas cylinders, fireforce personnel are not able to enter the building.

Source: Manorama

Short circuit causes fire in a residential house in Vadodara: father, daughter saved

Fire brigade on Tuesday saved a father-daughter duo in Gorwa after fire broke out at their residence. House of Kiran Makwana (30) got engulfed in fire when he was asleep with his four-year-old daughter Preesha Makwana.

According to the fire brigade, a short circuit in the electrical circuit had caused the fire. The rooms were filled with fumes making it difficult to locate keys to the doors.

“The father and daughter were rescued through a window about one feet wide and one feet tall. The duo suffered minor burn injuries following the incident,” said fire officer Om Jadeja. Kiran’s wife Jyotsna, who works as a nurse with GMERS was at work, when the incident took place.

Source: TOI


Electrical short circuit suspected behind Fire that guts shopping complex in Tambaram

A major fire ravaged a shopping complex at a commercial hub in West Tambaram on Tuesday afternoon. While on one was injured, the damage to property was huge, investigating policemen said.

The fire reportedly broke out at a store room on the second floor of Roja complex on Shanmugam Road around 2.45 p.m. It quickly spread to several shops on the same complex in just a few minutes. The sidewall of the neighbouring shopping complex was also damaged in the fire.

The blaze gutted goods like plastic utility items, textiles, furniture and electronic items in at least four shops in the complex. Police evacuated people from the area and many roadside vendors rushed to remove their goods. However, many such vendors, including those selling used books, lost nearly all of their property.


Ranjini, who had come to the Tambaram shopping hub, said the smoke engulfed the entire market area and the two-wheelers parked in front of the shopping complex were also damaged.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Tambaram, Guindy, MM Nagar, Chengalpattu and Siruseri with as many as 12 fire tenders battled hard for more than six hours to bring the fire under control. The Ministry of Defence also lent a helping hand by providing a fire tender from their Indian Air Force Station in Tambaram. A Skylift Hydraulic Platform of 54m from Teynampet fire station was also used in the fire-fighting operations.

More than 50 lorry-loads of water provided by Tambaram Municipality were arranged to replenish the water tanks of the fire tenders. Jamal Mohamed, a trader, said his friend Durai Rajkumar, working at one of the shops in the complex, informed him that at least two people were trapped in the flour mill on the ground floor of the building.

However, they came out of the building unharmed. The fire was brought under control by 9 p.m.

Tambaram police suspect the fire accident to have been caused due to an electrical short circuit in one of the junction boxes.

Joint Director of Fire and Rescue Services, Northern Region, S. Vijayasekar said lack of fire fighting equipment and absence of emergency exits and setback areas in the complex were a major cause for concern. Moreover, traders, who sold inflammable materials, also posed a risk. Activists alleged that not even a single complex on Shanmugam Road and Rajaji Road – another commercial hub — conformed to basic fire safety requirements.


Source: The Hindu