NEW DELHI: A major fire destroyed the National Museum of Natural History in FICCI building in central Delhi in the early hours of today, with many exhibits as herpetological specimens and stuffed animals disemboweled.
Six firefighters were taken to after inhaling excessive smoke during operation four hours to control the fire that broke out at 1:45 a.m. hospital.
His condition is said to be stable now, according to authorities.
Minister Prakash Javadekar Environment, who visited the site, describes the fire accident as “regrettable” and ordered a security audit of all museums under his ministry.
“This is unfortunate … Natural History Museum is a national heritage. Thousands of exhibits were there, and thousands of people visit the museum every day,” he said, adding that officials were to determine the extent of damage and ways to restore it.
The fire started on the top floor of the museum, located in the FICCI building at Mandi House, where some repair work was underway and quickly spread to all the other floors of the building.
No less than 35 fire trucks were put into service. Firefighters more than four hours to extinguish the fire after which was launched a cooling operation that lasted several hours said a fire officer.
Many exhibitions like taxidermy (stuffed) animals and samples were gutted in the fire.
The cause of the fire has not yet been found, said a police officer of high rank.
There were too many people in the building, which was evacuated by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.
Javadekar said the museum was operating out of an FICCI property.
“This is a rented property. The Ministry does not own it, but an FICCI property. Therefore, we have limitations. The point is that this is a real loss and will evaluate the loss when the building was handed back to us. We will see how you can make the recovery plan, “he said.
“Firefighters are looking after it. But we will assess the damage as soon as you give it. We’ll see how this can be restored. We will be able to get the data in two days and then ou chalk.
The minister ordered a security audit of all museums under its jurisdiction.
“I have given orders to carry out security audits museums under our jurisdiction, so the loss of valuable artifacts and exhibits can be avoided,” he said.
There are about 34 museums (the Ministry), including zoo ZSI Review India and Botany of India.
Established in 1972, the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi is one of the two museums focusing on nature in India. It operates under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.