Fire at Indian natural history museum destroys rare collections

The blaze broke out overnight on the sixth floor of the building that houses the National Museum of Natural History in central Delhi and rapidly engulfed the other floors, a fire official said.

NEW DELHI: A massive fire gutted the National Museum of Natural History in the Indian capital on Tuesday (Apr 26) destroying rare specimens of flora and fauna, the Indian environment minister said.

The blaze broke out overnight on the sixth floor of the building that houses the museum in central Delhi and rapidly engulfed the other floors, a fire official said.

Thirty-five fire fighters battled for hours to extinguish the blaze and five of them were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation, a fire department official told AFP.

Fire at Indian natural history museum-
PHOTO: EPA

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said officials had yet to determine the full extent of the damage but old collections had been destroyed.

“This is a real loss. This loss cannot be counted in rupees. Some very old species of flora and fauna were there,” Javadekar told reporters outside the museum, adding some were rare.

He also ordered an immediate safety audit of the country’s 34 major museums. Inaugurated in 1978, the National Museum of Natural History contained preserved specimens of butterflies, frogs, snakes, lizards as well as mounted specimens of tigers and leopards.

 

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