Published: 13th April 2017
Fire breaks out at IIT-M, NPTEL office at IC&SR may be completely gutted: No one hurt
A fire broke out at IIT Madras and gutted a portion of the IC&SR wing. There were no injuries or casualties, which is a real blessing, considering students have access around the clock
A fire broke out at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras late on Wednesday night, with initial reports suggesting that part of the third floor of the popular IC&SR building may be completely gutted. No one was injured or hurt in the fire, with very few security personnel having to be evacuated from the lower floors.
At first glance, it appears as if several computers and projectors and minor tech gear may have been lost in the blaze. There are rumours that an electrical fault caused the fire, but the police are yet to confim the same.
Initial reports indicate that the fire may have started a little after 8.40 pm and TNFRS rushed at least four fire engines to the building in quick succession. "I was out of campus when the fire started, I only came in by 9.15 but there was thick smoke so we could smell it from afar. Huge crowds had gathered and my friends who reside at the hostel close by said they saw the fire from their windows," said a PhD student. By 11 pm the fire had been doused and a quick sweep had been completed. The IC&SR building is where several labs and research blocks are facilitated. There is also an auditorium that is used for lecture series and external programmes quite often.
Sources in the fire department and the institute have indicated that they believe the fire may have originated in the NPTEL office, located in the part of the building that is now charred. "Usually the building gets empty by evening. No one goes there after that, so only the security guards stay at the entrance," said Hemant, a project technician who works at the Centre for Continuing Education which is right opposite the NPTEL.
Incidentally, the IIT website shows that National Programming on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) is an initiative of the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee) and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISc) for creating video and web course contents in engineering and science. Into its 12th year now, there are 900+ web and video courses across 23 disciplines available for download and viewing on the NPTEL web site distributed under the CC-BY-SA licence.
The property lost is yet to be estimated. IIT Madras issued a swift statement that read, "There has been an incident of fire in a part of the top floor of the IC&SR building of IIT Madras. The fire tenders were brought in immediately and the fire has been brought under control. No one has been injured; no one was inside the building. We thank the fire department and the fire fighters for their immediate support. The reason for the fire will be investigated."