Firefighters had a tough time on Wednesday in bringing the blaze at an old one-storey building near old Patto bridge in Panaji under control.
Fire services personnel also rescued eight persons trapped on the first floor of the building although some managed to jump out suffering minor injuries.
The department for the first time employed an aerial fire ladder that helped in the rescue of people and controlled the fire quickly.
Corina Lodge on the first floor of the building was guttered in the fire as were other establishments on the ground floor. Property worth approximately Rs 25 lakh was destroyed in the fire.
Mervyn Ferrao, station fire officer (SFO) headquarters said a call was received at 4.55am and fire fighting operations started at 5am.
"The fire was brought under control after almost three-and-a-half hours," he said further adding that when they reached the site, the structure was engulfed in fire. Fire tenders from other fire stations were also called.
"It is a conventional structure built using a lot of wood and hence the fire spread quickly," said Ferrao, pointing out that it was a difficult mission carried out under direction of Ashok Menon, director of fire and emergency services. "The fire would have spread to other inter-linked structures if we were not to contain it in time," he added. However, he was unable to throw light on what caused the fire, only adding that "it must have originated on the ground floor".
A petrol pump is located in front of the building. Some fire fighters along with a fire tender were kept posted at the site the whole day as a precautionary measure.
A bar and restaurant, a storeroom belonging to Cosme Mathias Menezes, a notary office, Ajanta hotel located on the ground floor were destroyed in fire.
Electronics goods from the store room and hotel furniture were ruined as were two motorcycles parked near the staircase of the building.
Other officers who actively participated in the exercise were Rajendra Haldankar, Rupesh Sawant and Nandu Dharalkar. [TOI]