A major fire that broke out at a film and TV serial shooting set claimed the lives of five persons, including a boy residing in an adjacent residential apartment, at Sriramnagar Colony in Manikonda on Sunday night. More than a dozen others sustained injuries, police sources said.

A film crew had put up a set in an open place abutting Baba Nivas Apartment in the colony. Flames erupted from the material dumped near the set around 8.45 p.m. and spread to the apartment. Even before residents tried to scamper to safety, thick smoke engulfed the five-storeyed building.

Family members in at least five flats got trapped inside due to smoke billowing out from the premises. Their neighbours tried to rescue them, but in vain and even fire-fighters who rushed to the spot could not enter the building. “It became very difficult for us to carry out the rescue operation. But we managed to enter the apartment and tried to save residents trapped inside the building,” said Regional Fire Officer G.V. Narayana Rao.

At the same time, occupants staying on the other side of the building were evacuated. Four fire tenders from Filmnagar, Madhapur, Langer Houz and Sanathnagar rushed to the spot. With the help of four 108 ambulances, the injured were shifted to nearby hospitals. DCP (Madhapur) T. Yoganand confirmed that five persons lost their lives in the incident.

Fire officials said the exact reasons behind the mishap were yet to be ascertained. The crew had dumped plastic and other combustible material in the open place. “Inquiries revealed that sparks emanated from a hut put up at the shooting spot leading to the fire. Flames could have erupted either due to electrical short-circuit or a carelessly thrown cigarette butt,” officials said.

Senior police officials, including Cyberabad Police Commissioner Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, Ranga Reddy Joint Collector N. Jagannatham were among those who supervised the rescue operations.