Fire at Nirmal Purja’s Elite Exped Office in Kathmandu Kills 3

CAMPING GEAR

A deadly fire destroyed a building and killed three people in Kathmandu, Nepal, last week. The structure housed the Elite Exped offices, co-owned by Nirmal Purja and Mingma David Sherpa.

On Sept. 21, Kathmandu police confirmed three people dead and an unidentified number injured in a fire that engulfed Nirmal Purja and Mingma David Sherpa’s business office in Kathmandu.

According to Everest Chronicle, authorities said oxygen cylinders stored inside exacerbated the fire. The outlet did not report the cause of the blaze, but said it said 3 dozen firefighters with six engines worked for 3 hours to extinguish it.

Senior Superintendent of Police Dinesh Mainali told the Chronicle that the first reports of the fire came in around 6:40 p.m. local time. Noise from the exploding cylinders was so loud that it reverberated for “miles” throughout the Kathmandu Valley, the outlet said.

“A number of citizens close to the site reported hearing loud blasts repeatedly and feeling the earth shake,” Everest Chronicle reported. “It took six fire engines and three dozen firefighters well over three hours to control the fire.”

Mingma David Sherpa posted a memorial for the three deceased victims on Facebook. His brother Karsang Tenjing Sherpa, Ashok Wenjha Rai, and Tsewang Sherpa all lost their lives in the blaze. All were part of the Elite Exped team, and all were younger than 33 years old.

“No words will be able to repair our loss and the whole Elite Exped team is heartbroken at the loss of our precious team members,” Mingma Sherpa wrote.

Purja was working when the incident occurred, guiding a group of climbers on Manaslu. “This is such a horrible incident to have occurred in an expedition company,” he commented via Everest Chronicle.

The building was located at Budhanilkantha-10 in Kapan, Kathmandu. ExplorersWeb reported that it did not belong to Elite Exped, and said whether other companies or individuals leased other parts of it was “unknown.”

The outlet also noted that the incident represents a somewhat common theme in Nepal. Guide companies usually store fuel and oxygen canisters in their buildings, along with mountaineering gear. Buildings can store up to 200 canisters at once, the outlet said, which can cause or worsen fires.

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