Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, lost a key heritage building as the iconic Secunderabad Club was gutted in a huge fire in the early hours of Sunday.
One of the oldest clubs in India, Secunderabad Club has been in existence since 1878 when it was founded for the British Army officers in Secunderabad, then a British Cantonment.
There was no loss of life in the mishap. According to fire services department, the fire in ground plus two storey building broke out around 3 a.m. The fire call was received 15 minutes later.
Seven fire tenders rushed from various parts of twin cities battled for three hours to extinguish the fire and thus prevented it from spreading to other buildings in the premises, an official said.
However, the 144-year-old main colonnade patterned building of the iconic club including main reception, portico, bar, restaurant and vintage wood furniture were completely gutted.
According to fire services department, the fire spread rapidly as the building was built mostly with wood. The department had pressed into services multipurpose fire tenders, water browsers and water cum foam tenders to extinguish the flames.
The internal staircase of the building which was made of wood was completely destroyed in fire and fire fighting operations were carried out from the external staircase but it didn't have access to first and second floors of the building.
K. Madhusudhana Rao, district fire officer, Secunderabad supervised fire fighting operations.
"The cause of the fire is under investigation and the loss of property is under assessment," it said.
Meanwhile, Arvind Kumar, special chief secretary, urban development, government of Telangana, termed the incident as unfortunate. He said the director general fire services has been asked to ascertain if appropriate fire protection measures were in place at Secunderabad Club.
The official has also been asked to find out if the Club had a fire NOC from appropriate authority and whether a safety audit was in place.
Spread over a 22-acre lush green campus, Secunderabad Club was established by the British Army Garrisons that were stationed in Secunderabad under an agreement with the Hyderabad State which was then ruled by third Nizam Sikandar Jah.
It was initially called Secunderabad Public Rooms and later renamed as Secunderabad Garrison Club. It was also known as Secunderabad Gymkhana Club and the United Service Club.
Recognised as a heritage building by the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, it boasted of a spacious ballroom, an open-air theatre, a cricket field and other outdoor sports facilities.
Following the fire accident, Secunderabad Club managed by a committee headed by Raghuram Reddy was indefinitely shut. The club has more than 5,000 members.
Many were shocked over losing the iconic structure. The club management is yet to come out with details of the incident, cause and losses suffered.
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