23 vehicles go up in flames
As many as 23 four-wheelers were gutted in a major fire accident at the parking yard of a private travel firm on Wind Tunnel Road, Murugesh Palya, on Monday afternoon.
Infant Travels Pvt Ltd, which provides vehicles for the IT sector in the City, also operates a service station and a parking yard for its fleet on a two-acre plot on Wind Tunnel Road.
A fire broke out on a part of the land where about 40 unused vehicles had been parked. According to a worker at the yard, on noticing a fire in one of the buses around 11 am, efforts were made to move the vehicles to a safer place.
However, since most of them were locked and their keys couldn’t be found immediately, their windowpanes were broken and the steering unlocked. While some vehicles were manually pushed away, others were towed by tractors to a safer distance. However, 14 vans and nine buses were charred.
Manikanta, a worker at the parking yard, said: “Initially, we tried to douse the fire on our own, while trying to move the vehicles away from the fire. But since all of them were closely parked to each other, the fire spread quickly. Moreover, fumes from the melting metal made it impossible for us to go near the vehicles.”
The fire force staff rushed to the spot with 11 fire tenders from Mayo Hall, High Grounds, Banaswadi and Mahadevpura.
Over 30 fire personnel took multiple rounds to refill their water tankers. The fire was finally put out after an hour-long operation.
“While we are yet to ascertain the actual cause. We believe someone might have negligently used flammable substance on the dry grass that must have quickly reached the fuel tanks of the vehicles and sparked off a massive fire. Since the vehicles were parked in an open space and though the smoke was dense, we were easily able to reach the source of the fire and put it out,” said R Ramesh, chief fire officer.† He said the fire accident was estimated to have caused a loss of at least Rs one crore.
Airport Police have registered a case and taken in one of the supervisors of the firm who was on the spot for questioning.
When contacted, the company officials told Deccan Herald that the vehicles damaged in the accident were not in use and had been put up for sale.
“We have surrendered the documents of all these vehicles to the RTO as we would be saving on tax. Thus none of these vehicles had any insurance. So the allegation that we deliberately caused the fire to claim insurance is baseless,” said, Satish Kumar, Head of Operations, Infant’s Travels Pvt Ltd.