A massive fire broke out in a garment showroom situated in a three-storey complex on Kammanahalli Main Road here Saturday afternoon, destroying clothes, carpets, floor mats and other highly combustible materials. Some 20 fire tenders battled with the raging blaze for more than two-and-a-half hours before it was brought under control.
Fire Services officials said nobody was injured but goods estimated to be worth Rs. 70 lakh had been destroyed, principally on the first floor.
Soon after receiving a call around 2.20 p.m., nine fire tenders were despatched. The fire is believed to have been sparked off by an electrical short-circuit at Haryana Handloom Centre on the first floor.
The building also houses a footwear shop, an eye care centre and a paint showroom on the ground floor. However, barring Mahalakshmi Electrical and Hardwares, the paint shop, the others were spared here. The second floor, which was left unscathed, houses small rooms occupied by workers and helpers employed in shops nearby, local residents said.
Manoj, a helper at one of the shops in the building, said: “I had gone out in the afternoon and when I returned, I could see smoke billowing from the building.” He added there had been continuous power fluctuations earlier in the day.
Hussain, who has a shop down the road, said he rushed to the spot when he heard the news but found that people had already emerged unharmed by the time the fire spread across the building.
A huge pile of garments and cloth was dumped outside the building as firemen threw them out to contain the flames. They had to knock down first floor railings and part of the parapet wall to place their ladders to get to the upper floors.
Among the destroyed goods were charred chairs and two cylinders as well. The presence of cylinders in a garment showroom initially led to suspicions about the cause of fire as well, besides raising concerns over the impact had there been a blast.
Fire Services officials later clarified that the cylinders were empty though Director of Department of Fire and Emergency Services B.G. Changappa said there was no need for cylinders in a non-cooking area.
Members of the family that ran the garment business were seen sobbing as they huddled in a corner and watched the blaze destroying the goods. Fire Services officials said the building was owned by Manju Reddy while the garment showroom is run by Darshan Lal.