JAMMU - Three firemen were killed and six persons injured when a three-storey building collapsed in Jammu city on Wednesday when fire department personnel were trying to put out a blaze, officials said.
Director General of Fire and Emergency Services, V K Singh said the building in Golepulli area of Tallab Tillo, housing a saw mill on the ground floor, collapsed during the fire fighting operation.
"We lost three personnel in the incident, while six persons -- four civilians and two firemen -- were rescued in an injured condition and were evacuated to a hospital," Singh who supervised the rescue operation, told PTI.
Soon after the incident, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and police rushed to the scene and were later joined by a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to rescue the trapped persons.
After hectic efforts, the bodies of the three trapped firefighters identified as Vimal Kumar Raina, Rattan Chand and Mohammad Aslam were retrieved from under the debris, Singh said.
He said the fire department rushed firefighters after receiving a distress call at 4.48 am and were making efforts to put out the blaze when suddenly the building collapsed at 5.30 am.
"We have rescued four trapped civilians in the morning while two of our personnel suffered injuries. All the rescued persons were evacuated and taken to a hospital," Singh said, adding that while one of the firemen is being treated for serious burn injuries, the other is undergoing treatment for head injuries.
"There was a huge stock of timber in the saw mill and a gas cylinder also exploded during the fire as a result of which the building collapsed due to intense heat," the DG said.
He said the NDRF team was mobilized from Pathankot to assist in the rescue operation.
Lauding the role of the fire and emergency department in restricting the blaze in the congested area, Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma said despite suffering casualties, the firefighters did a tremendous job in controlling the fire and rescuing trapped civilians.
"It is a tragic incident and we are looking into the cause of the fire. It is a matter of investigation whether the building was unsafe," he told reporters.
An official of the NDRF said they got the call at around 6 am and joined the rescue effort around 8.30 am.
"The rescue operation took time as we have to make an approach through the debris to reach the trapped persons," he said, adding that no one else is believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu expressed grief over the death of three firefighters in a building collapse here on Wednesday, an official spokesperson said.
In his condolence message, the Lt Governor prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief, he said.
Murmu has directed the administration to provide the best-possible medical treatment to the injured, the spokesman said.
The Lt Governor lauded the valour of the firefighters and observed that they have always remained at the forefront during a fire outbreak or any other such emergency situations.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police, Fire and Emergency Services, V K Singh briefed the Lt Governor about the health condition of the injured firefighters, the official said.
He added that Murmu stressed on the importance of generating awareness regarding fire safety norms in all public buildings to avoid any such incidents in the future.
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