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EC fire causes ‘nearly Tk 5m damage’

Published : Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1479

A fire that broke out in the basement of the Election Commission or EC headquarters has inflicted nearly Tk 5 million in property damage, the polling regulator has estimated.

Dozens of electronic voting machines or EVMs, four air conditioners, and electric cables were reportedly destroyed by the flames. The authorities suspect the fire was sparked by an electric short-circuit.
Having avoided any major damage, the commission vowed to restore automatic fire extinguishing system to safeguard the structure from such incidents in future.

The fire erupted around 11pm in the basement of the 12-storey building on Sunday and was tamed after over an hour's worth of efforts. The NID database server located on the 10th floor of the office block remained unscathed.
The building also houses the offices of the chief election commissioner, secretaries and other officials along with a host of important documents.
The EVMs were stored on the ground floor while the commission was also considering stashing blank smart cards and printing machines in the building.
Asked about the cause of the fire and extent of the damage incurred, Brig Gen Mohammad Saidul Islam, director general of the EC's National Identification Registration Division (NID Wing), said, "The initial report attributes the fire to an electric short-circuit."

"The damages are estimated at around Tk 5 million to Tk 6 million. Around 15-20 units of EVM ballot units, 25-30 monitors, four air conditioners along with electric cables were destroyed. The extent of damage is minimal compared to what was feared." Speaking to the media, Additional Secretary to the EC Md Mokhlesur Rahman said, "There is no heater in the basement since no-one stays there. Therefore, we don't see anything other than the electrical [short-circuit causing the fire]."

"We are initially suspecting that the fire in the basement was caused by an electrical short-circuit. We don't believe there were any other reasons for it," Director General of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Directorate Brig Gen Sajjad Hossain said.

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