A massive fire broke out in the National Museum of Natural History located in New Delhi, in the wee hours of Tuesday. The museum, situated on the sixth floor of the FICCI building near Mandi House, erupted into flames around 1.45 am. Six firemen were injured, two of whom are said to be in critical condition.
According to reports, 40 fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot. The flames quickly spread into the FICCI auditorium, although not much damage was reported in the auditorium. "The building's fire safety mechanisms were not working; still we controlled it within 2 hours, "Rajesh Panwar, a fire Officer told ANI news agency.
The museum was inspected by the Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday morning. "This is tragic; the museum is a national treasure. The loss cannot be quantified," he said after his review, according to NDTV.
He further said that the building was owned by FICCI, where the museum was housed on rent. â€śThey should conduct a fire audit in order to restore damaged properties,â€ť he was quoted as saying. He also added that he has ordered a fire audit of 34 other museums.
A Didar Singh, Secretary General of FICCI, tweeted:
Fire at Museum building Ficci premises fully controlled by immediate response of Delhi Fire Service. Thanks to all.â€” Dr A Didar Singh (@SecyGEN_ficci) April 26, 2016
The National Museum of Natural History was set up under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1978. The installation of the museum was spearheaded by the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who announced that the nation needed a museum to preserve its indigenous flora and fauna and also promote environmental awareness among the masses.
These are some of the exhibits and collections present in the museum:
1) One of the most prized possessions of the museum was a 160 million-year-old fossil bone of a lizard-footed dinosaur called a sauropod, according to The Times of India.
2) The museum also had a prized collection of bird eggs including of the ostrich and the long billed vulture.
3) There was also a collection of stuffed animals including various big cats, most of them prepared by Mysore-based taxidermists Van Ingen & Van Ingen.
4) The museum also had exhibits of herpetological (amphibians and reptiles) specimens, dinosaurs and various mounted animals, and stuffed butterflies.
5) Apart from exhibits, the museum had an extensive collection of films on wildlife, ecology, conservation and the environment in general.
6) The museum also housed references books on natural history, wildlife and ecology.
7) There were also galleries on evolution, diversity of flora and fauna in the country, food chains, food webs, and bio-geochemical cycles, among others