A major fire broke out at a research facility located in the Space Application Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here this afternoon, officials said. Nobody was injured in the blaze, which was doused within a couple of hours, they said. “A major fire broke out inside a building which is used as an antenna testing laboratory (for satellites). It is located inside the sprawling SAC campus in the Satellite area of the city. As many as 27 fire tenders were pressed into service,” Additional Chief Fire Officer Rajesh Bhatt said. A senior official of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) said the fire was reported around 2 pm and it took almost two hours to douse the flames.
The exact cause of the fire was not yet known, the fire official added. According to Bhatt, the blaze spread quickly due to the presence of U-Foam material on the lab’s walls. Several senior government officials, including Ahmedabad Collector Vikrant Pandey and Joint Commissioner of Police K L N Rao, along with AFES officials visited the fire-hit unit. Pandey said a team of forensic experts would ascertain the cause of the fire. “Since it was lunch time, all employees were outside the facility when the fire broke out. Only one person, who tried to douse the flames, complained of breathing problems, but nobody else was injured,” he said.
An official statement released by the SAC tonight said, “Though there was no causality, two CISF and two fire fighting personnel reported breathlessness and were given treatment in nearby hospitals.” The inferno is not expected to significantly affect any of the ongoing projects or programmes at the SAC, it said The SAC statement further said, “The loss to the property could not be estimated. The immediate cause of the fire is not identified and the same can be confirmed only after investigation by competent authorities.” “It is expected that the incident will not affect any ongoing projects/programmes of SAC/ISRO significantly,” the statement said.
The SAC is a major research centre of the ISRO in the city, where payloads for satellites are prepared. The centre was established by Vikram Sarabhai, known as the father of the Indian space programme.