Cylinder blast is suspected to have triggered the fire that spread fast
Raging fire gutted several huts and caused damage to some tiled houses at Keezha Vannarapettai here on Tuesday.
The “major” fire broke out at around 11.30 a.m. after a cooking gas cylinder exploded in one of the huts close to a church situated in that residential locality, eye witnesses said. There were no casualties or injuries.
Fire that broke out in one of the houses rapidly spread to nearby thatched houses and tiled tenements fanned by heavy wind at that moment causing shock and anxiety among residents.
Residents, who panicked on seeing the towering flames that rose up to several feet height within no time, ran helter-skelter abandoning their belongings. Deafening blasts of cooking gas cylinders kept inside the huts added to the chaos. Such was the impact of the blasts that household articles that were blown to smithereens and fell on the roof top of a concrete house in the neighbourhood.
Within few moments, the area was engulfed with intense heat and thick smoke resembling a war zone. Dark smoke billowing from the area could be seen even from a few km.
The thatched sheds erected atop a few concrete houses and wooden material placed on the terrace were consumed by the fire. The blaze soon spread to spare articles and waste material dumped on the dry bed of a pond even as local people watched with shock and disbelief. An overhead electrical fire turned into ashes.
Horrified by the rapid spread of the blaze, local people raised an alarm and asked the neighbours to switch off the electrical mains. Simultaneously, the Fire and Rescue Services was alerted around 11.40 a.m.
Four fire tenders were rushed from the Tiruchi Fire Station to the spot, Fire and Rescue Services department personnel said.
More fire engines were called from Srirangam, Lalgudi, Navalpattu, Manapparai, and Thuvarankurichi fire stations, besides Keeranur in neighbouring Pudukottai district.
In addition to 10 fire engines, private water tankers were also despatched to the spot to aid the fire fighters battling the raging fire from different sides.
One of the fire fighters sustained minor injury during the operation that lasted an hour. Besides house-hold articles, a two-wheeler was gutted in the blaze.
AIADMK MLAs M. Paranjothi, R. Manoharan, and N.R. Sivapathi and Collector Jayashree Muralidharan inspected the spot and consoled the people who had lost their personal belongings in the fire accident.