Fire destroys several offices at Visvesvaraya Bhavan in Patna; no casualties

PATNA: A major tragedy was averted on Wednesday morning after a massive fire broke out at the Visvesvaraya Bhavan (also called the technical secretariat) on the Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg of state capital Patna.

While the inferno caused huge damage to office records and equipment, there has been no loss of life. The building housed multiple state government offices, including road construction and building construction departments.

Fire tenders took nearly 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control. Some labourers who were trapped in the building were rescued by the fire department. Construction work has been going on in the new building’s premises since 2021.

The building houses more than six departmental offices, including Bihar state planning board, rural works department, road construction department, minor water resources department, etc.

According to Patan Sadar SDO Navin Kumar, the fire broke out around 7.30 am. A security guard noticed smoke emanating from the fifth floor of the building, prompting him to ring up the fire department.

More than six fire tenders, with a hydraulic ladder, rushed to the spot and extinguished the blaze by 9 am.

The firemen said had the fire reached the lower floors, it would have caused a major damage. Official chambers of the minister and secretaries of rural works department and Bihar state planning board are said to be completely damaged.

“Fire tenders are still there as a precautionary measure. It began on the third and fifth floors. Some records, computers and other materials have partially damaged,” said a fireman.

Sobha Ahotkar, director general of home guard and fire services, monitored the proceedings and confirmed that the offices were shut. Preliminary reason behind the fire is believed to be a short circuit.

According to Ahotkar, 16 teams from six fire service stations, along with 14 fire tenders and two hydrolic systems, were pressed into service. Two persons have been rescued from the building.

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