IAF chopper sprays water to douse Delhi blaze

A Pawan Hans helicopter carrying police patrols over the violence-hit area of Lalgarh in the West Midnapore district, some 170 km (106 miles) west of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, June 23, 2009. The growing Maoist insurgency in India over large swathes of the mineral-rich countryside could soon hurt some industrial investment plans just as the country suffers an economic slowdown. Pawan Hans is the country's largest helicopter operator. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw (INDIA CONFLICT POLITICS)

New Delhi: A massive blaze that erupted in a rubber factory of a densely-populated south Delhi neighbourhood last evening was brought under control on Wednesday after an Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi17V5 chopper was used to spray water, officials said.

Strong winds on Tuesday night fanned the flames emanating from the warehouse storing rubber as it took a gigantic proportion. The IAF chopper fitted with a bambi bucket had to carry out many sorties, spray hundreds of litres of water to wrestle the blaze under control.

Fire officials said the blaze will be contained only once the material burns which may take around three more hours. They said there were no casualties reported so far. The cause of it was still being ascertained.

On Tuesday evening, 65 tenders, parked in the byzantine lanes of the congested neighbourhood, were put in service to douse the blaze in the Khirki Extension of Malviya Nagar. Five tenders were used to fight the fire with foam.

A fire official told IANS that a call reporting the fire near Sant Nirankari School was received around 5 p.m.

The warehouse is owned by Maxwell Pvt Ltd who are into business of providing rubber raw material for remoulding of vehicle tyres.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, South, Romil Baaniya said it was found that a truck was being loaded with rubber sheets at the warehouse when the vehicle suddenly burst into flames. It quickly spread to the building where more rubber sheets were stored.

Rubber compounds stored in inflammable metallic and plastic boxes caught fire that flared up the blaze.

The officer said the fire was partially brought under control in the evening. But as it became windy during the night, flames gushed out of the building and a plume of black smoke clouded the Malviya Nagar skyline.

People living around the warehouse was evacuated as a preventive measure. Some 13 buildings, a school and a gym have been evacuated for safety reasons, according to a fire department statement.

“The nearby area has been temporarily evacuated for security reason,” Baaniya said.

Medical teams at Max Saket, Rainbow Child Specialty Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and AIIMS were kept on alert to attend to any injured. Adequate police arrangements were deployed at the medical facilities.

Policemen and women were also deployed in large numbers for assisting in the evacuation, crowd control and coordination with other agencies.

IANS