A major fire broke out in a multi-storey building housing offices of banks, around 300 metres from Parliament House, here this evening, fire brigade officials said.
The blaze erupted in the office of Punjab National Bank in UCO Bank Bhavan, located near Akashwani Bhavan and Nirvachan Sadan, at around 4:45 PM. Over 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the fire. There were conflicting reports about where the fire broke out with some people in the building claiming that the blaze was reported from the basement, while another set talked about the fire in ground floor. Some of the injured, who had trouble in breathing, have been taken to hospitals.
Police and fire brigade officials suspect that a short circuit is the cause of the blaze. Thick plumes of smoke billowed out of the four-storey building. A large number of employees working in banks and customers were trapped inside. While some of them managed to get out of the building before the fire spread, a number of them were trapped as the exit was engulfed in smoke.
Two hydraulic elevators were pressed into service by fire brigade officials who broke the window panes and rescued them from the top floor of the building. Police also had to block traffic on parts of Ashoka Road and Parliament Street as rescue operations went on. Anxiety gave way to emotional scenes outside the building as colleagues hugged each other after getting out.
Some family members of those working in the building also rushed to the spot after hearing about the incident.