Massive fire destroys Natural History Museum in Delhi

RSTV Bureau
National Museum Fire in Delhi. Courtesy: Twitter/airnewsalerts

National Museum Fire in Delhi.
Courtesy: Twitter/airnewsalerts

A massive fire has destroyed the National Museum of Natural History in central Delhi in the wee hours on Tuesday gutting exhibits like taxidermies (stuffed) animals and specimens were gutted in the fire. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained a senior police who is overseeing operations at the FICCI building near Mandi House Metro station where the Museum is located.

“Fire at the Museum FICCI premises is fully controlled by immediate response of Delhi Fire Service. Yes unfortunate fire incident in Museum building in FICCI premises. FICCI office and auditorium are okay,” tweeted FICCI Secretary General Didar Singh.

Six fire officials engaged in controlling the fire to have been injured and rushed to hospital after they inhaled excessive smoke the four-hour operation. Officials said that their condition stable

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who visited the spot, described the fire mishap as “unfortunate” and ordered a safety audit of all museums under his ministry.

“I have given orders to conduct safety audits of museums under our jurisdiction, so that loss of precious artefacts and exhibits can be avoided. This is unfortunate…Museum of Natural History is a national heritage,” said Javadekar.

Javadekar said that his ministry will assess the loss make arrangements to recover the lost heritage

“The fire personnel are looking after it. But we will assess the damage as soon as they hand it over to. We will see how this can be restored. We will be able to get the details in two days and then chalk out a strategy,” he said.

Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed shock about the incident termed it as a wake up call for all buildings.

“I feel very sad and anguished. Hope this is wake up call for all our buildings,” said Jairam Ramesh

There are around 34 museums under the Ministry of Environment and Forest including ones of ZSI Zoological Survey of India and Botanical Survey of India. Established in 1972, the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi is one of two museums focusing on nature in India. It functions under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The fire broke out on the top floor of the museum at 1.45 AM where some repair work was underway and quickly spread to all other floors of the building.

“35 fire tenders rushed to the spot with fire-fighters and worked for four hours to douse the blaze after which a cooling operation was launched which lasted for another few hours, “said a fire official.

There were not too many people in the building, which was evacuated by the time fire officials reached the scene.

Top officials of the police range and Delhi Fire Services rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. The damage caused by the fire is being estimated.

Established in 1972, the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi is one of two museums focusing on nature in India. It functions under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.