A security guard who was on duty escaped unhurt and immediately informed the fire control room.
New Delhi: A possible tragedy was averted after a part of a building in Connaught Place’s C Block caved in on Thursday leaving people panic stricken. Fortunately, no casualties were reported in the incident.
According to Delhi fire officials, the incident took place at about 2 am in inner circle’s C-Block first floor, above the popular Jain Book Depot, where the roof and the wall of the vacant plot measuring around 3,000 square/ft allegedly belonging to a restaurant collapsed.
A part of the building shared by a popular unisex salon also bore damages. However, nobody was hurt in the incident. A security guard who was on duty escaped unhurt and immediately informed the fire control room.
Officials said that a major tragedy was averted as the incident took place in the early hours when the market had closed for the day. Had the incident occurred later in the day when inner, middle and outer circles of Connaught Place are packed with shoppers, there could have been casualties.
According to divisional fire officer Madhav Chattupadhyay, the shop owners have been asked not to carry out any work in the area. “We have also heard that construction work was being carried out on the building’s first floor. The shop owners have been asked to stop working until they get a clearance from civil engineers.”
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) fire officers, along with disaster management and civil engineers, reached the spot to take stock of the situation. Three fire tenders, two JCBs, one rescue van was immediately put into services. During investigation, it came to light that some other walls and the floor have also been damaged in the collapse, due to which officers have asked people not to go near the debris and have cordoned off the area.
Later, on Thursday morning, the NDMC officials issued notice to nearby buildings and asked them not to carry out any work. Meanwhile, civil engineers have begun cutting the fallen concrete and debris is expected to be completely cleared by Friday, said one of the government officials.
According to Sahil, an eyewitness, a loud sound followed by the collapse shook the people sleeping on footpath. “We panicked as we first mistook it as an earthquake. But, later when we neared the spot we saw the ceiling of the first floor’s vacant site. We immediately alerted the shop owners who rushed to the spot.”
It is also said that when the incident happened, the Delhi Metro had reportedly been carrying out repair works of an underground AC unit for the past two months. The officials had to stop the work on Thursday.
Following the incident, New Delhi Municipal Council chairman Naresh Kumar has directed the concerned departments to look into the matter and submit a detailed report.