A fire that broke out in a partially thatched shed adjacent to the Theerthapadamandapam, near the eastern entrance of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple at East Fort, around 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, created tense moments for the local people as well as the huge media posse which had rushed over as soon as news about the fire near the temple broke.

There was no loss of life or injuries to anyone even though the shed was totally destroyed.

Seven units of fire tenders, from Chakka and Chengalchoola fire stations had to battle for over an hour to put out the fire, which had begun at the back of the shed. The shed, which used to house handicrafts, had been in disuse for over three months.

One of the traffic wardens, Ramachandran, on duty near the eastern entrance of the temple, was the first to have noticed the fire. He alerted the police and the Fire and Rescue Services.

Officers said the fire could have turned out to be a major disaster as there were gas cylinders inside the shed, one of which exploded while they were working to put out the fire. Two gas cylinders could be saved before these too exploded. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. It could have been a short circuit or possibly, a fire which was started by a carelessly thrown cigarette butt, sources said.

Fire and Rescue Services Technical Director Sivanandan and Station Officer (Chengalchoola) Krishnan led the fire-fighting operation.