"The firemen who arrived at the spot were ill-equipped to handle the situation for lack of proper equipment. Over 20 fire tenders were pressed into service. There was no proper lighting and headlights of vehicles had to be used to carry out rescue work. The local administration later called in the army for rescue operations."
Chandigarh, June 9 - The Chandigarh district administration Monday declared nearly 20 buildings unsafe in the city's Sector 17 commercial hub after one building collapsed Sunday night following a massive fire.

The building housed the government-run National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIEIT). As a result of the collapse, two firemen were killed and two others injured.

District Magistrate V.P. Singh Monday issued prohibitory orders on entry of people in the adjoining buildings in the area. The buildings declared unsafe house several government and private offices.

Whereas it has been made to appear to me that after a major fire broke out in the building i.e. SCO No. 115-116, Sector-17B, Chandigarh, the said building collapsed. Due to collapse of the said building, the other adjoining building/SCOs have gone weak and there is every likelihood that the adjoining SCOs may collapse and it may cause harm to the general public as well as living/working people.

The SHO, PS-17, Chandigarh has requested the adjoining buildings i.e. SCO 4 to 9 and SCO 115-127 be declared unsafe for human living/working and entry of general public may be restricted within 150 metres of radius of adjoining buildings i.e. SCO Nos. 4 to 9 and SCO No.115 to 127, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh, till the situation is under control, the district magistrate's order said.

The district magistrate also set up a committee of senior officers to probe the fire and the building collapse.

Smoke continued to billow out of the collapsed building.

Four people, all firemen, were trapped inside the building after it collapsed. While two were killed, two others were rescued with serious injuries.

The firemen who arrived at the spot were ill-equipped to handle the situation for lack of proper equipment. Over 20 fire tenders were pressed into service. There was no proper lighting and headlights of vehicles had to be used to carry out rescue work. The local administration later called in the army for rescue operations.

Officials said crucial data related to electricity and water billing of Chandigarh and records of other government departments could have been lost in the fire and building collapse.


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