At least five people were reported to have died and several others injured in the fire that broke out at the Mumbai Mantralaya on Thursday afternoon.
According to NDTV, two of the victims' bodies were recovered from the sixth floor of the administrative building and have been identified as Umesh Kotekar and Mahesh Ghugale. Another eight people, who were rescued from the fire, have been rushed to various hospitals.
It took over 12 hours for fire officials to douse the massive flames that started around 2:45 PM on Thursday. Rescue teams comprising over 20 fire engines and several ambulances were pressed into service for evacuating 5,000 people who were inside the building. Naval helicopters were also deployed for airlifting operations when required.
"The fire kept getting stronger, first there was only smoke. We broke the windows with chairs and climbed out on the ledge. We climbed down the pipe from the fifth floor," an unidentified man, who was trapped in the fire, said to the news service.
Cooling operations will take about 48 hours but will take much longer before people can start reoccupying the building.
The fire that is alleged to have been caused by a short circuit had even gutted Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's office, which is located on the sixth floor of the building. The Maharashtra CM, who was one of the evacuees, has ordered a probe into the incident. Alternate arrangements are being made for Chavan and other government ministers to resume their office duties, the news service said.
According to the Press Trust of India, Chavan will also hold a special Cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss the aftermath of the incident. Meanwhile, opposition parties have suggested that the incident may be a case of conspiracy and have ordered a probe into it.