Friday, April 19, 2024

Blaze wreaks havoc on Bar Association; valuable legal papers reduced to ashes


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 24: A massive fire blazed through the 111-year-old Assam-type structure housing the Shillong Bar Association on Saturday night, damaging much of the structure, and reducing computers, furniture and most importantly valuable legal documents.
There was no report of loss of life but the extent of damages is said to be immense, considering that the rooms were being used to store thousands of legal documents.
Bhola Yadav, the watchman, narrated the incident and said he had taken a break for dinner and had gone to his house located near the office when he noticed the fire at around 10:30 pm.
He said when he reached the office, he saw sparks coming out of the electrical wire but was unable to enter the room as the fire had already spread.
He alerted the fire brigade who immediately rushed into action and was able to douse the flames. However, the fire had turned the structure hollow from inside with most of the paper and wooden furnitures reduced to ashes.
Inspector General of Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES), Francis Kharshiing said that they received a call at around 10:30 pm after which he rushed to the spot. The Bara Bazar fire station was the first to respond.
He said he coordinated with the Laitumkhrah, Upper Shillong, and Mawlai fire stations who also rushed to the spot immediately to contain the fire.
According to Kharshiing, their first priority was to control the fire and stop it from spreading as several important offices like the DGP’s office, DC’s office, and the District and Session Judges’ office are all in the vicinity.
Explaining that the fire was controlled in around 30 minutes, Kharshiing said, “The damage is done but we managed to control the blaze within 30 minutes and stop its spread.”
“It is going to be a long night as there is a lot of paper and old wooden furniture and we will have to ensure that there is no smouldering,” he added.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar and other officials also arrived there to take stock of the situation.
Speaking to newsmen, the chief minister said it was an unfortunate incident.
“I am relieved that there is no loss of life but concerns are there due to the loss of important documents,” he said.
Sangma added that officials of the administration, police and fire services are present on the ground to monitor the situation and ensure that no further damage is caused.


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