A massive blaze swept through the iconic Secunderabad club on Sunday morning, gutting the 144-year-old building.
No casualties have been reported.
A short circuit is said to have started the fire between 12 am and 1 am from the bar room of the building. At least seven fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. It was finally doused by 6 am by fire department officials.
According to district fire officer, Secunderabad Division, Madhusudhan Rao, a major portion of the heritage building was gutted as a considerable chunk, around 50,000 sq ft, was made up of wood. Several historical artefacts have also been reportedly destroyed in the fire.
The damage caused in the fire is estimated at ₹35-40 crore.
Spread on a sprawling 22 acres of land, the club, established by the British in 1878, was one of the five oldest clubs in the country. It had a cricket field, swimming pool, a dedicated Sailing Annexe, a giant ball room, an open-air theatre, heritage suites apart from dining and banquet halls, bars and lawns to accommodate huge gatherings.
Earlier it used to serve as a hunting lodge for Mir Turab Ali Khan, Salar Jung I, who served as the prime minister to the Nizam. The club was feted with heritage status in 1999.
Known as the Secunderabad Public Rooms during the British era, the club saw a rise in membership of civilian officers inducted by the British to the Railways, judicial and administrative departments. It was later renamed United Services Club, which represented all sections of society.
Until Independence, only British citizens were appointed as the club’s president and select nobility enjoyed the privilege of being its members. Now the club has over 5,000 members.