Vadodara: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) fire and emergency services department began razing its headquarters here on Saturday. The fire brigade has already shifted its services out of the building to pave the way for its demolition for wider roads.

The power and gas connections to the iconic building that was once the nerve centre of emergency services were snapped on Saturday morning to pave the way for its razing. The process of razing partition walls of rooms inside the building also commenced later in the day and the entire structure will be brought down soon.

The present fire brigade headquarters that was inaugurated on March 31, 1953, had only nine garages for vehicles and around 40 quarters besides space for offices. With the expansion of the fire brigade, it has added new vehicles and the present space was not sufficient for these. The building was in a dilapidated condition and one of its floors was brought down some years ago to reduce the load on the structure. The building also had leaks and even the control room there used to get waterlogged.

The immediate reason for bringing down the structure, however, is the widening of the roads around the building. The fire services have already shifted their control room to a premises opposite the existing building. There is sufficient space to park the vehicles around the existing headquarters, sources said. The administrative office of the fire brigade will shift to a building near Akshar Chowk in the western parts of the city.

VMC commissioner Dr Vinod Rao said the process of bringing down the building with heavy machinery would begin on Saturday night. “Eighty per cent of the building was in the road lines and was creating a major bottleneck,” he said.

In the long run, the civic body plans to have a state-of-the-art control room for the fire brigade at Badamdibaug along with the command and control centre of the civic body that will include CCTV surveillance across the city. Space will be prepared for the vehicles of the fire brigade at Lakdipul that is located a few paces away.

The VMC is also looking to decentralize its fire services and link them with its urban health centres. The health centres will also have space for firefighting vehicles, equipment and personnel. The civic body had earlier planned a modern headquarters for the fire brigade at Karelibaug, but the project never took off.

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