Choki Wangmo 

A fire that started from the Lungtenphu army colony in Thimphu, above the helipad, burnt down about 20 units of houses yesterday afternoon.

Although there were no human casualties, most of the residents couldn’t salvage their belongings.

Residents were watching a football game in the Army ground in Lungtenphu when the fire started from a unit within the army colony and spread within a few minutes to other units.

The houses were made of plywood, making it easier for the fire to spread.

The fire is suspected to have started from a short circuit.

“Once the liquefied petroleum gas cylinders exploded, the fire spread to other houses. It happened within a few seconds,” an eyewitness said.

Gusty wind hampered the firefighting efforts.

The fire quickly spread to two houses at the Changjiji housing colony.

Residents were seen evacuating with their belongings.

“It is risky to live in a crowded housing colony like this. Even Thimphu city isn’t safe. There are always threats of such disasters,” an eyewitness said.

A victim, who couldn’t save her belongings, said that by the time she knew about the incident, it was too late. “It was heartbreaking to see my belongings turn to ashes,” she said.

Many people came to help their relatives and friends evacuate to safer places.

After more than two hours, the fire was finally contained.

An official from the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) said that the fire couldn’t have started due to a short circuit.

“Underground lines are safe and they can’t cause a short circuit. We rule out that the fire could have started from an external line,” said a BPC official.

However, he said that the fire could have started from an internal short circuit.

In Pictures: Lungtenphu Fire

While there were no human casualties, most of the residents lost all their belongings in the fire yesterday