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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

Last updated on: June 21, 2012 19:50 IST

PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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A major fire on Thursday broke out at 'Mantralaya', the Maharashtra state secretariat complex that houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials.

Close to two hours after it was first noticed near the cabin of Tribal Welfare Minister Babanrao Pachpute on the fourth floor, the fire continued to rage till late in the afternoon even as fire fighters battled the leaping flames.

Two teams from the naval dockyard were also rushed. Panic gripped the sprawling building, the seat of state administration, after the fire, first noticed around 2.45 pm, spread swiftly to fifth, sixth and seventh floors.

According to sources, nearly 5,000 people vacated the building within 20 minutes of the fire breaking out. Fire brigade personnel with huge hydraulic ladders were seen bringing down those trapped.

According to sources, the urban development department, which is embroiled in a controversy over the Adarsh scam, and departments of home, revenue and industries were the worst affected by the fire.

The offices of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and his Deputy Ajit Pawar on the sixth floor were also damaged. An eye witnesses said some people were injured but no immediate official confirmation was available.

Pachpute said he heard a blast soon after the blaze started. Though his staff used fire extinguishers to put out the flames, it spread rapidly.

"I ran down and pulled out my cabinet colleague Jayant Patil from his third floor cabin," Pachpute said. Animal Husbandry Minister Madhukar Chavan said he heard several blasts in the air-conditioners at he attempted to escape.

Pachpute said the fire brigade started its work around 3.05 pm, nearly 20 minutes after the blaze started.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, who arrived at the spot, said the rear portion of the building had suffered the maximum damage but did not confirm if anyone was injured. Efforts to douse the flames were hampered by winds, he said.

To persistent questions if Adarsh files had been destroyed in the fire, he said, "Our primary concern is to sort out the situation, to rescue people." Chief Minister Chavan and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar were superivising efforts to quell the fire and rescue the trapped.

Meanwhile, the Navy has pressed into service two helicopters that hovered over the Mantralaya to rescue those who might have been stuck.

"There is nobody present on the terrace. We are using the public address system to ask those who might be trapped inside to rush to the roof-top and ropes would be dropped from the helicopters to rescue them," a naval spokesman said.

We present you pictures of the devastating fire by rediff.com's Reuben N V, Abhishek Mande and contributors Sahil Salvi and Aaran R Patel.

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Image: Smoke rises from the Mantralaya after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building on Thursday afternoon
Photographs: Video: Reuben NV /Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Image: Smoke rises from the Mantralaya offices as firefighters struggle to douse the flames
Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Photographs: Abhishek Mande/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Image: Several fire tenders were pressed into service
Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Image: A navy helicopter rushes to the rescue
Photographs: Abhishek mande/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Image: The street dwellers saw this as an opportunity, and crowded around the fire tenders
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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PHOTOS: Major fire at Mantralaya in Mumbai

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Image: Office workers came out of their windows in a desperate attempt to escape the smoke and the fire


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Image: Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik at the Mantralaya


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Image: People outside their offices waiting to be rescued
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Image: The top floors of the Mantralaya can be seen engulfed in this picture
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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