A huge plume of smoke was seen at the Yelahankha air base, which is the venue for the Aero India 2019 air show being held in Bengaluru, on Saturday morning. Police sources present at the spot have told TNM that a grass fire spread to parking area number 5 and some vehicles which were parked there have also caught fire. Around 300 cars have been gutted in the fire and the fire has been doused.
"In all, 300 cars have been burnt in the incident. The fire has been fully extinguished now. 10 fire force teams and 5 fire engines fought the fire under the leadership of Chief Fire Officer, West," MN Reddi, Karnataka DGP said.
Fire under control. No life loss reported pic.twitter.com/rMmLMoktJsâ€” Karnataka Fire Dept (@KarFireDept) February 23, 2019
An eyewitness, Rahil, told TNM that he heard a blast and realised that a fire had broken out. â€śThere were cars blasting one after the another, I could hear crackling sounds. The cars were closely parked so the fire spread within seconds... there were glass shards everywhere, tyres were blasting. I was scared so I ran out and I saw one fire engine come inside,â€ť Rahil said.
He added that the fire had broken out at the far end of the parking lot and the firefighters began their operations immediately and the fire could be controlled to just that area.
One fire-fighter from Channapatna fire station sustained minor injuries during firefighting operations. Rakesh was one of the firefighters deployed at the Aero India venue as part of the security cover and was one of the few people to first reach the spot. While he was trying to douse the fire, he received minor injuries due to glass shards from one of the damaged cars. He has received treatment and has returned to carry out firefighting operations.
The cause of the fire is not yet known but sources say it could have been a lit cigarette that was thrown into the grass which may have started the fire. It is not known yet how many vehicles are ablaze. The parking spot is located around a few kilometres away from where the air show is being held.
When the smoke was first spotted, many thought it was garbage being burnt but the amount of smoke later indicated a bigger fire.
There has been no disruption to the Aero India show due to the smoke. Saturday is the fourth day of the Aero India 2019 air show which began on February 20.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Defence states that a court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the fire.
This incident comes days after the mishap involving the two aircraft of the Indian Air Forceâ€™s Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team, which killed one pilot, Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who flew as Surya Kiran 7.