Srinagar: A major fire broke out in the annexe of the Civil Secretariat building in Srinagar on Thursday morning. Ten to 15 fire tenders, which were immediately rushed to the spot, have now brought the fire under control. There have been no reports of casualties or injuries.
"The fire at the secretariat was massive because it was a wooden structure and there were lot of files in it. We tried to douse the fire at the secretariat as well as the houses nearby. The fire is under control now," said an official Gulam Hasan Bhatt.
But a resident claimed that initially the fire officials were not dousing fire that had engulfed the houses. "They were only dousing the fire at the secretariat. No one was concerned about our homes. One after we protested that they started to douse fire at our homes," he alleged.
Flames and smoke started billowing from the two-storey wooden structure adjacent to the main building of the Civil Secretariat minutes before the offices were to open at 9.30 am, officials said.
While the cause of the fire is yet not known, the state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident. No official or staff was inside the building when the fire broke out.
Many top bureaucrats, including Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, have their office in the building.
"The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage, particularly of records stored in these offices will take some time to assess," the Chief Minister tweeted.
We've had a fire in the annexe of the Sectt housing the offices of technical education, higher education, forest, accounts and treasuries.— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) July 11, 2013
The cause of the fire & the extent of the damage, particularly of records stored in these offices will take some time to assess #Srinagar— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) July 11, 2013