PUNE: Farmer’s Choice, a restaurant, which is part of a popular restaurant chain in Pune, was completely gutted in a fire on Thursday afternoon near Indira College in Tathawade, on the Pune-Bengaluru highway. No person was injured in the incident, however, a loss of Rs 12 to 15 lakh was reported by the owner of the restaurant.
According to officials of Pimpri-Chinchwad fire department, the incident occurred at around 12.15 pm. The restaurant is adjacent to ‘Good Food Roll House’ joint. Rahul Shinde, who runs the restaurant, told Sakal Times that Farmer’s Choice opens at around 12 noon.
“There were three workers present inside the kitchen of the restaurant when the incident took place. One of the workers was about to prepare vegetables when he lit the gas and then a huge explosion occurred. The workers immediately evacuated the restaurant and in few seconds the restaurant was on fire,” added Shinde, who stays at a distance of 20 metres from the restaurant.
Seeing the restaurant on fire, Shinde and locals present called the Fire Brigade to douse the fire. Officials of Hinjewadi Phase I fire department and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation fire department rushed to the spot. Fireman S Sutar said that four fire tenders and 15 firemen were pressed into service. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes. There were three gas cylinders in the restaurant, of which one exploded while the firefighters were dousing the fire. Shinde said that three fire extinguishers were present in the restaurant, but the workers tried to save their lives first and so did not find time to douse the fire.
Officials of the fire department said that restaurant kitchens should be equipped with fire fighting machines. “The moment there is a fire in the kitchen, sprinklers should automatically be activated and the fire should be doused,” a fireman said. Officials of Hinjewadi police are looking into the case. No customers were present in the restaurant when the incident took place. As there are several colleges in the area, students from the colleges are present in huge numbers for lunch and dinner in the area.