Fire engulfs heritage Shimla Gorton Castle (AG Office) : In Pictures
SHIMLA- Today, with the sunrise, a very sad news awaited Shimla to woke up. The capital city saw flames and smoke-clouds rising from the top of Gorton Castle, a marvelous architectural beauty, one of the most amazing British era heritage buildings, and presently the house of Accountant General of Himachal Pradesh. The fire broke out at about 3:30 am and continued till afternoon inspite of consistent efforts of fire brigade to control it. The reason is speculated to be either a short circuit in one of the heating devices or some other similar circumstances. Nearby people and army official claimed hearing multiple cylinder blasts.
The fire started from the front part of the fourth floor of the five story building and soon spread to lower levels. Almost everything present in top two floors, computers, record files and official documents, furniture etc. turned to ashes.
The accurate amount of damage in terms of infrastructure is surely over many crores, however, the official details on the actual damage are still awaited.
Fortunately, no one fell victim to the accident except a poor flying fox, which sat on the ground half-conscious. It was alive but seemed to have received some burns. Perhaps, it lived in the attic of the building. We hope, it’ll be fine and fly the trees again.
Once again, the army men were the first to arrive at the spot and provided emergency initial help in controlling the fire, while the fire brigade really struggled in strategically handle the situation.
Shimla Police with SP, Abhishek Dullar, was in action from early morning. A couple of cops mentioned how the SP himself held the water pipe and ran inside the building with other fire fighters.
However, as a fetal mistake, police did not barricade the premises of the burning building and a huge crowd gathered around the building, which made it crowded for the fire servicemen and other workers at work.
Also, the iron grills, window glasses, and other reminiscent were coming down, which could easily cause casualties.
Moreover, the possibility of a rampage is always high in crowded circumstances. The gates were closed very late, and a lot of people had already entered the site till that time.
The Chowk infront of AG office building was also full of viewers, most of which were either leaving to their offices or to bazaar.
The floor told the story of devastation the building went through.
Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, Dinesh Malhotra, deputy commissioner, Shimla, and some other higher officials were also present at the site.
Other than financial, official, and architectural damages to a grand building, the destruction of records, both in hard copies and computers, is likely to cause a great trouble for many employees, beneficiaries as it would take a long time to rebuilt the building and trace the lost records. Meanwhile, many employees waiting for promotions, transfers, or other official benefits, are likely to suffer a delay.
We have some pictures of the the site clicked during then ongoing fire extinguishing operation.
About Gorton Castle Structure
The magnificent five story Gorton Castle building, one of the most striking specimens of a neo-Gothic architecture, was constructed in 1904 during the colonial rule, and British treated it as their official ‘Summer Session Secretariat’ before Independence. The building was designed by architect Sir Swinton Jacob.
A few pictures taken by a reader with his mobile phone shows aftermaths of indoor office cabins.