CHANDIGARH: The Mayo Block, the VVIP wing of the historic Grand Hotel which is part of the holiday home of the Union government in Shimla, was gutted in a fire which broke out early on Monday.
Sources said that the blaze began at 12.45 AM in the part of the hotel opposite the historic Bantony Castle heritage building some 200 meters from the Scandal Point on the famous Mall Road in Shimla.
Fire tenders were rushed from Mall Road, Chotta Shimla and Boileaugang fire stations. However, due to shortage of water, the blaze could not be controlled for several hours.
Six rooms were completely burnt down in the fire and a few other rooms on the floors of this palatial building, which was constructed during the British era, were partially damaged owing to the wooden structure. The building was recently renovated and new furniture was also put in place. The police had to break open the locks of the gate to get into the building.
Shimla Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwar Goel said the fire was stopped from spreading into the adjacent buildings as the firemen, army and police personnel assisted in dousing the flames.
In a separate incident, another fire was reported at the sauna and steam bath centre of the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, a part of which was damaged. The fire allegedly spread through the short circuit. A recovery room for the players was also engulfed in thick smoke.
Sources said that the security personnel at NIS saw the flames around 5.15 am and informed the fire brigade.