Kathmandu, August 7
A massive fire engulfed the data centre located in the head office of Subisu Cable Net Pvt Ltd, an internet service provider, at Baluwatar today, destroying property worth millions of rupees.
A thick black cloud of smoke was seen rising from the building as hundreds of pedestrians and neighbours witnessed the incident that lasted for nearly two hours.
Sudhir Parajuli, chief executive officer of the company, said the fire spread from a fuel-powered generator room, ‘most probably caused by short circuit in the generator’. “We suspect a spark might have ignited diesel stored in the room to be used for the generator.”
Parajuli said fire fighters reached the site 35 minutes after the fire broke out and the first two fire trucks deployed for extinguishing the inferno were dysfunctional, which prolonged the process of bringing the fire under control. “Had the fire fighting team been more effective, the master control room could have been saved. But it was already too late, so they used water cannon to control the fire.”
Naresh Raj Kunwar, fire commander at Kathmandu Fire Brigade (Juddha Barun Yantra) at Basantapur, however, claimed that they had reached the site within eight minutes of receiving the first call at 12:44pm. “Our team was deployed at the site a minute after we received the call and reached there at 12:52pm,” he said.
The JBY was the first fire fighting team to reach the site. On dysfunctional fire trucks, Kunwar said although they had made necessary arrangements thinking it to be a normal house fire, they realised the situation was more serious upon reaching the site, as diesel stored inside the office had added fuel to the fire. “Our fire brigade is not equipped to deal with gasoline fire. So, we used around 100 litres of special foam we had and sought help of Nepali Army, which was equipped to control such fire.” Kunwar conceded that had they been able to contain the fire in generator room, the damage to the main office building could have been lessened. “But carpets, desks and electronic materials inside the main office had already started burning, so we used fire engine to bring it under control.”
Fire trucks, fire fighters and security personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepali Army and the fire fighting brigade from Bhaktapur and Lalitpur were able to bring the fire under control by 1:55pm.
A version of this article appears in print on August 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.