Over 250 thatched houses were gutted at Thotagaruvu Colony in Ward Number 3 at Arilova here on Tuesday afternoon. The fire broke out around 1.40 p.m. and within five minutes a part of the colony was engulfed in an inferno.
The nature of housing material (dry leaves and wood) and strong winds were the main reasons for the fire to spread so quickly.
Three fire engines reached the spot by 2 p.m. and it took over two hours for the firemen to bring the raging fire under control.
As per the reported loss by the Fire Department there was no loss of life or injuries to the residents of the colony, but property to the tune of Rs. 10 lakhs was completely damaged and 250 families were rendered homeless.
The initial investigations point to the cause that the fire started from a cooking oven at one of the houses.
“The fire initially engulfed one house and due to the strong winds it spread to the neighbouring two houses.
A cooking gas cylinder blast in one of the huts facilitated the fire to spread further.
Since the colony comprised thatched huts only, the fire spread rapidly and in a few minutes about 200 huts were engulfed in the fire,” said Divisional Fire Officer S.V. Narasimham.
The colony that was set up on the hill slopes at Arilova, as part of the ‘Bhooporatam’ campaign by the CPI(M), mainly houses daily wage earners.
Since most of the residents had gone for a picnic at Rushikonda and the others had left for their daily work there was no loss of life or injuries, said district president of CPI(M) Ch. Narasinga Rao, who was seen supervising the relief operation.
The DFO said timely action by the department could save over 800 houses and property worth Rs. 50 lakhs.
Mr. Narasinga Rao said Revenue Divisional Officer Prabhakar Rao had visited the spot and had assured the victims to provide pucca houses in a short period and immediately sanctioned Rs. 5,000 and 20 kg of rice per affected family as compensation. The district authorities have set up a makeshift camp to house the victims and provided water tankers.
The CPI(M) has taken up the responsibility of providing food till Wednesday and some clothes for immediate use.