The use of substandard batteries may have caused Tuesday’s fire in the Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR) building at Chennai airport, said authorities.

Nearly 45 batteries caught fire after a short circuit in one of the pieces of equipment in the room behind the new fire station at the airport. No one was injured.

The equipment has been lying unused for the last one year and hence, flight services were not affected. Some of the glass windows of the room broke while a few false ceilings collapsed and the room was completely coated with soot, said sources. “Fortunately, MSSR equipment worth several crores was not damaged,” said an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI)

Officials from New Delhi will inspect the building on Thursday or Friday and examine the reasons for the incident, said an official of Airports Authority of India (AAI). The official added that while the loss had not been estimated, “batteries cost anywhere between Rs. 45,000 and Rs. 1 lakh. We are not sure how many have been destroyed.”

In March, a fire broke out at the Air Traffic Building of the Chennai airport, once again, after batteries burst due to a short circuit. Sources said that this incident caused a loss of about Rs.45 to 50 lakh for AAI and that the incident occurred due to lack of proper maintenance.

It was only on Tuesday morning that the officials inspected the new fire station located near the MSSR building to commission it soon.

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