Hyderabad: Reducing an iconic edifice to ashes, a major fire engulfed the main building of the Secunderabad Club during the wee hours of Sunday, damaging properties with an estimated loss of around `25 crore. Fire officials said that a short circuit might have caused the outbreak, though a proper inspection would be done in due time.
The place was declared temporarily unsafe to enter as the structures were badly damaged, according to the DCP of North Zone, Deepti Chandana. She said inspections regarding the cause of fire and other such probes would be taken up shortly, adding that the property loss was said to be over `25 crore.
Following a complaint from the president of the club R. Raghuram Reddy, a case was registered by the Marredpally police. “The fire, which broke out at around 3 am on Sunday, completely damaged the billiards room, Men’s Club colonnades, wooden staircase, IT department, offices of the secretary, vice president and president, the membership department and an 1878 restaurant, which covers about 50,000 square feet,” said the police inspector of Marredpally, M. Mattaiah, adding that apart from the fittings, pictures and invaluable trophies were also completely damaged in the mishap.
According to the fire officials, a call was received at 3:15 am and as many as seven fire tenders were sent to the spot. “Seven fire tenders took till 6:30 am to control the spread and the entire operation was finished around 8:40 am,” said the fire officials. “The structure had a lot of wood, which according to fire officials, was a reason for the rapid spread of flames.
Fortunately, the liquor godown and another restaurant were located elsewhere and remained undamaged by the fire. A few bottles kept as samples in the 1878 restaurant area were engulfed in the flames,” police sources said. “The bungalow number 220, which is a G+2 building with a height of 14.00 meters, was engulfed in flames. A water bowser from Secunderabad fire station and a multi-purpose tender from Cantonment fire station were sent after ascertaining the intensity of the fire. The building was built mostly with wood, causing the fire to spread rapidly. With fire spreading in all directions of the building, a water cum foam tender from fire station Snorkel, a water tender from fire station Moulali, water bowser and multi-purpose tender from Secretariat were also rushed to the spot,” said regional fire officer (RFO), V. Papaiah.
The RFO further said the internal staircase of the building, which was made of wood, was completely destroyed and the operations were done from the external staircase. “The external staircase did not have access to the first and second floors of the building and with great difficulty, the firefighters doused the flames from the windows of the two floors. The cause of fire is under investigation and the loss of property is under assessment,” added the RFO.
One of the oldest clubs in India, the Secunderabad Club was founded in 1878. Once a hunting lodge, the Salar Jung I, Mir Turab Ali Khan, who served as the prime minister of the Nizam, used to stay there during his hunting trips. The club buildings received heritage status in 1999 and the fire is believed to have destroyed several articles of historic value.
Timeline of events -
3:00 am - Fire breaks due to an alleged short circuit
3:15 am - Fire officials receive calls
3:25 am - Fire tenders rushed to the spot
3:30 an -- Water bowser, water cum foam tender and
multipurpose tenders rushed from other stations
6:40 am - Situation bought under control
8:30 am - Firefighting operations completed
8:40 am - Fire vehicles withdrawn from place, one water
bowser was left as a precautionary measure