AHMEDABAD: Currency notes worth Rs 18 lakh were burnt to ashes after a major fire broke out at an Indian Bank ATM in Rudra Arcade at Helmet Crossroads in Memnagar on Sunday morning. The fire spread to six adjacent offices, destroying documents and furniture. Losses may run into crores. Fifty firefighters took around one-and-a-half hours to douse the flames with the help of two water tankers. Chief fire officer of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) M F Dastoor said that no one suffered any injury. A senior fire official, quoting the branch manager of the bank, said that the ATM machine, two air-conditioners, furniture inside the ATM, and a flex board were burnt. “A nearby shop selling fitness and surgical instruments was damaged. Three ACs and fitness equipment were charred. The loss of Rs 75 lakh is estimated,” said a fire official. “The fire gutted a dental clinic too. Files of patients and surgical instruments and
equipment worth Rs 1 crore were burnt. The fire also spread to the office of an advocate and BJP leader, J J Patel and three other offices. ACs, furniture, and documents were gutted; the loss is estimated to be Rs 2-2.50 crore.”
Another senior fire official said that frequent fire accidents have been occurring in the city but fire-safety protocols are lax. “The ATM, where the fire broke out because of a short-circuit, lacked any fire-safety equipment,” said the official. “Besides, there was 2/25/2019 Rs 18 lakh turns to ashes as fire engulfs ATM – Times of India no MCB (miniature circuit breaker) switch which could stop the flow of electricity during a short-circuit.” A team of FSL experts has been called in to investigate. No action for negligence
A senior fire official said that though fires have been breaking out in the city frequently, no criminal action has been initiated in any case. “In the case of Shreeji Tower fire, residents took action but authorities like the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) did not make any concrete action plan,” the official said. He said that the civic body must lodge a criminal complaint in cases of fire due to negligence. In the case of the ATM fire, currency notes worth lakhs were gutted. So the authorities need to take suo motu cognizance of the case and begin an inquiry. 244 Firefighters protesting exam detained
At least 244 firefighters who were protesting against the exam held for various positions of the AFES by the AMC, were detained by Gujarat University police after they sat on a hunger strike at the exam venue in the university on Sunday. The firefighters were demanding that promotions and positions be given on the basis of their seniority and not merely on the basis of an exam. This happened at a time when a team of firefighters was battling the blaze at Helmet Crossroads. An AFES official said that the fire department has been facing staff crunch to the extent of 95% but legal complications and controversies were being created to affect recruitment.