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Mussourie's 133-year-old historic hotel which housed skating rink gutted in massive fire

The 12-room Sidus Rink hotel located on the Camel Back Road was undergoing renovation. Prima facie, a short circuit appears to have caused the fire. DEHRADUN: A massive fire broke out at the historic Sidus Rink hotel in Mussoorie in the early hours of Sunday destroying it completely. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained while preliminary investigation is suspecting an electrical short circuit.

The 12-room Sidus Rink hotel located on the Camel Back Road was undergoing renovation. It housed what was once Asia’s largest wood-floor skating rink which was burnt to ashes. According to the police, the owner of the hotel was sleeping in his room and was rescued by breaking open his window. Three hotel staff, who were trapped inside at the time of the blaze, were rescued safely, Mussoorie Station House Officer Shankar Singh told PTI.

Speaking to this newspaper, Station Fire Officer Dheeraj Singh Tadiyal said, “We received a call about a fire here at 5:10 am. A small fire tender was first sent to douse the fire and later two large fire tenders were sent. The fire was brought under control after nearly five hours of struggle. More than 50 lakh litres of water were used to douse the fire.” “We had to return from the Camel Back area and take another route from Green Chowk as our fire tender vehicles could not pass through the Camel Back area due to parked cars, resulting in a 10-minute delay in reaching the site of the fire”, he added. It took fire-fighters who came from Dehradun and Mussoorie nearly four hours to douse the fire, Mussoorie Circle Officer Anil Joshi told PTI.

Shankar Singh Bisht, the Station House Officer (SHO) at Mussoorie Police Station, told ANI that as renovation work was going on in the hotel, it was empty and there was been no loss of life. Mussoorie Hotel Association president Sanjay Agarwal said most of the infrastructure of the building which was built in 1890 was built mainly of wood and a part of the rink still remains which is a threat to passers-by from Camel Back as it can crumble at any time. “We have requested the Mussoorie police to ensure that the area should be barricaded till the entire debris is removed, “ he added.

Once Asia’s largest Historian Jaiprakash Uttarakhandi said Rink Mussoorie was a pride of the city and many competitions including the All India Roller Hockey Championship, Artistic Skating, Figure Skating were organised here. Its billiards room was where Michael Ferreira and Geet Sethi also practised. William Shakespeare’s plays too used to be staged at the rink. Nimma Kant, a senior journalist from Mussoorie, said, “Earlier, the owner of this hotel had given the land of the rink to a dentist in exchange for dental treatment. Its construction began in the late 18th century. After this, Rink was bought by Purna Chand & Sons. Recently, a year ago, the Agarwal brothers sold it.” (With online desk inputs) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)