Bellandur Lake fire so big it rages overnight

Last Updated 21 January 2018, 03:38 IST

The worst-ever fire at Bellandur Lake continued for a second day on Saturday.

Beginning Friday, the bright orange flames raged through all day and night, with eruptions that refused to die down, and clouds of black smoke drifting into the acrid air.

By Saturday afternoon, firemen had extinguished the fire, but smoke continued to billow.

C Basavanna, chief fire officer, Bengaluru East, said the flare-ups had been difficult to douse.

"Small fires were starting again and again. That is because of the garbage and chemicals under the vegetation," he told DH.

He estimated 50 acres of the lake's 910-acre extent had been on fire on Friday. People living in the vicinity of the lake said they noticed a big flare-up at daybreak on Saturday.

Later in the day, stench from the lake, coupled with the pungent smell of smoke, hung heavily in the air as firemen waded into the water and clambered on to boats, carrying hose pipes all the time.

The 12 fire tenders parked around could do little as they could not be taken into the marshy water.

"We are using two portable pumps. Using pipes, we are drawing water from the lake and spraying it on the fire. The idea is to reduce the smoke and cool the area," said K U Ramesh, director, fire and emergency services.

Firefighters were using shovels, pickaxes and crowbars to clear the vegetation and prevent the lake from catching fire again.

The ASC Centre and College continued to lend a helping hand to control the fire.

Centre seeks report

The Centre on Saturday sought a detailed report on the fire at Bellandur lake.

Mahendra Jain, additional chief secretary, urban development, told DH, "The ministry of environment and forests has got in touch. I have asked the BDA to submit a detailed report."

Jain has also requested the Central ministry to send a team of experts to advise on measures to be taken.

"I have also requested financial assistance as it was spoken about in the past," Jain said.

He has directed the BDA to file a police complaint to find out who started the fire.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board will also file detailed ground reports, he said.

The question of who started the fire remains unanswered. "I have asked for camera details from the BBMP," Jain said.

(Published 20 January 2018, 18:46 IST)

Follow us on