Overheated car silencer probably caused Aero India fire

The fire was probably sparked by an overheated silencer of a car parked at the site, the Defence Ministry spokesperson said in a tweet on Sunday.

The devastating fire that gutted over 300 cars at the Aero India parking lot on Saturday was probably sparked by an overheated silencer of a car parked at the site, the Defence Ministry spokesperson said in a tweet on Sunday. “This quickly led to spreading of the fire, accentuated by strong winds.” 

It was speculated earlier that an unidentified person had thrown a lit cigarette on the ground, and the uncut, dry grass had quickly caught fire. However, a top State Fire and Emergency Services official had dismissed this, stating that there was no evidence. A Court of Inquiry is currently on to pinpoint the exact cause. 

On Sunday morning, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the site of the horrific blaze. The full extent of the accident came to the fore: In all, 278 cars were fully burnt and 73 partially damaged, 16 of them due to fire and 57 with their glass broken.

The Minister was briefed by officials from the Indian Air Force, State Fire Services and State police about the incident, and first-hand witness accounts. She enquired about the steps being taken to facilitate the insurance claims by the car owners.

She directed the officials to ensure that the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) helpdesk have representatives from insurance companies to facilitate people’s claims. Later in the day, the Minister was scheduled to meet Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, the city police commissioner and the Director General of Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

The Defence Minister was briefed about the action taken by the Operational Control Centre (OCC) of Aero India at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in controlling the rapid spread of fire at P4 parking area. The spreading blaze was aided by strong winds reaching in excess of 30 kmph, and many vehicles were parked in the direction of the wind. 

The OCC Commander along with State Fire Department put into action together more than 13 fire tenders, seven water bowsers and 33 Agni Varuna vehicles to douse the fire. Six Crash Fire Tenders (CFT) of IAF, which is used in case of aircraft crash, was used to control the rapid spread of fire. “The entire fire was doused within 45 minutes, and more than 3,000 litres of foam was used,” an official Defence Ministry statement said. 

At the time of the incident, more than 3,000 vehicles were parked in the parking area. “Vehicles in the line of fire were removed from the area by breaking the glass windows and releasing the parking brakes as drivers were not present and these cars were pushed to safety. This action also created a gap between the parked vehicles and stopped further spread of the fire.” 

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