Fire devastates New Dehli's National Museum of Natural History

'The specimens, the stuffed animals and the chemicals some specimens were preserved in were all highly combustible,' Chief Fire Officer reveals

Matt Payton
Tuesday 26 April 2016 20:01
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Fire engines parked outside the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi, India
Fire engines parked outside the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi, India

A large fire has gutted India's National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi, taking fire fighters over four hours to bring the blaze under control.

Around 200 fire fighters and 35 engines were involved, with six becoming trapped inside the building, the Indian Express reported.

No one was in the building at the time of fire which was first noticed by security personnel at around 1:45am.

The fire is believed to have started on the top floor, spreading quickly downwards through lower levels of the building.

The cause of the fire is as yet unknown, but wooden partitions and chemicals used to preserve specimens contributed to its fast spreading throughout the museum.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rajesh Pawar said: "Three fire fighters were sent to RML hospital with complaints of asphyxia. The other three were administered first aid and made to return to rest. All six are stable now,

"The wooden partitions to separate different wings of the museum on each of the four floors fed the fire.

"The specimens, the stuffed animals and the chemicals some specimens were preserved in were all highly combustible. That is why the fire spread so rapidly," he added.

Minister of Environment, Prakash Javadekar, said: "We are assessing the loss. There were thousands of specimens which have been destroyed…This building was rented out to the Ministry by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, so we had limitations. We will try to recover what we can."

The museum was established in 1972 and is one of two devoted to nature in India.

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