PUNE: A fire broke out on the first floor of the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) building on Wednesday morning. Several documents related to old vehicle registrations were burnt. Firefighters took 10 to 15 minutes to douse the fire.
According to the fire brigade, 20 per cent of the documents and some old furniture were burnt.
Sanjay Raut, Deputy RTO, said it was not a major incident. “There was no loss of vehicle registration-related documents. We are investigating the cause of the fire,” he said. “Our security guard saw smoke coming from the back of the building. He rushed to the spot and tried to control the fire using a fire extinguisher. He called up the fire brigade. Within a few minutes, the fire brigade team reached the spot and brought the blaze under control. It is likely that a short circuit caused the fire. The burnt documents have already been digitised. Information about all vehicles registered with the RTO is safe in computers,” Raut told Sakal Times. Vijay Bhilare, Fire Station Duty officer, Raja Bahadur Mill Road, said, “We got a call at 8.27 am about the fire. We reached the spot within 3-4 minutes. It took 10-15 minutes to douse the fire. A team of 12 firefighters were at the spot.” The RTO was closed on Wednesday. Hundreds of applicants went back without completing their work.
Vijay Maruti Mahadik, a visitor reached the RTO for an appointment for learning licence of his son. He said, “We have an appointment for the learning licence on Wednesday. When I reached the office, I found no notice stating that the office is closed due to the fire. I tried to approach officials but saw no staff in the office.”
Ruchika Kulkarni, another applicant for the learning licence, returned after she saw the notice put on the main entrance of the building. “After repeated attempts, I had got an appointment for the learning licence. Now I will have to come again,” she said. Raut said applicants need not worry, adding, “If they come tomorrow, we will give appointment for the next day after verification of all documents.”
- The incident raises the question of fire safety measures at the RTO. “We have more than needed safety equipment to control a fire. We have enough fire extinguishers on our premises. I have conducted a meeting with our staff and security officers on how to secure documents and prevent a fire,” Raut told Sakal Times.
- Station Duty officer Bhilare said the RTO has enough fire extinguishers. “There are 15-20 fire extinguishers above 4.5 kgs on the premises. They are following the fire safety measures as per the norms,” he said.