Mysterious blaze erupts in lot where 50 vehicles were parked; no casualties as residents flee

Panic gripped residents of Manjunath Layout in Murugeshpalya on HAL Airport Road in Bangalore when fire engulfed 22 vehicles belonging to a travel agency Monday morning.

The 12 vans and 10 multi-utility vehicles were parked in the compound of Infant Travels which provides transport facilities to several IT and BPO companies in the city.

The vehicles were destroyed before people could collect themselves, though some had the presence of mind to drive off with some of the vehicles away from the inferno. Some 50 vehicles are believed to have been parked at the time.

There were no casualties though fire and emergency service personnel said it was a close call for some seven to eight multi-storey buildings housing commercial establishments and residential apartments. Had there been a blast, it would have been catastrophic.

Muniraju, a cleaner with the company, said: “The fire started from a Mazda bus and then started spreading. We called the fire officials immediately and in the meantime, we started throwing water and sand to control the fire.”

Though no one was injured, the intense heat melted several plastic water storage tanks on adjacent buildings. Overwhelmed by the acrid smoke, people rushed out of the buildings.

It took seven fire tenders an hour to bring the blaze under control and there were complaints that the firemen arrived late.

“We called them at 11.30 a.m. itself, however, but they arrived only at around 12.15 pm,” said Nagraj, a salesperson in the neighbourhood shop.

Infant Travels employees declined to speak.

Traffic on the busy Wind Tunnel Road connecting Murugeshpalya was disrupted. The police had a tough time managing the traffic and rubbernecks.

The HAL Airport police said they are coordinating with the Regional Transport Authority officials. Most of the vehicles were defunct and some of the old vehicles were used as substitute vehicles in case of an emergency.

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