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Firefighters spray water to douse fire at the Sapeco bar in Panaji on Friday

Fire guts Panaji’s oldest bar; no injuries

PANAJI: The oldest bar and restaurant in the city, ‘Sapeco the Loft Bar & Restaurant’, was destroyed on Friday after a major fire engulfed the building.

The bar, established during the Portuguese era and constructed using mostly timber, suffered significant damage in the incident. The loss has been estimated at Rs 10-15 lakh.

According to fire officials, the blaze started around 4.20 pm on the mezzanine floor of the bar, located near the head post office, but the fire department received a call only around 4.39 pm.

According to the officials, the fire could be a result of faulty electrical outlets, as a refrigerator on the mezzanine floor was found in a damaged condition. The officials said that flames had engulfed the mezzanine wooden floor and roof of the building when the firefighters arrived at the spot. Luckily, as the bar was closed for the afternoon break, no injuries were reported.

Fire department officials said the firefighters battled the fire for nearly two hours before they could contain the blaze and stop it from spreading beyond the building. Three fire tenders and a motorcycle quick response unit were used to extinguish the fire. One of the fire tenders, which was deputed at the Lokutsav festival in the city, could not arrive immediately at the site due to engine failure, said the officials.

Fire personnel said the firefighters have recovered five cooking gas cylinders from the bar kitchen. The firefighters also evacuated three labourers by breaking open the shutter of adjacent Miski bar and restaurant. The labourers were resting inside the locked premises at the time of the fire incident.

A fire department official said that timely action helped in saving the ground floor of the bar. It was not immediately clear whether the establishment has a fire NoC, as no fire safety measures were taken when the fire started. The premises, with the bar and restaurant located on the mezzanine floor and wine shop on the ground floor, was given on lease to a Guirim-based family seven months back.

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