A major fire that raged for about six hours in a warehouse belonging to apparel manufacturer Gokaldas Exports destroyed readymade garments worth about Rs. 75 crore at the Yeshwanthpur Industrial Suburb near Tumkur Road here in the early hours of Friday.

About 15 employees, including securitymen on night duty, who were in the warehouse, had a miraculous escape.

The fire broke out around 2.20 a.m. and engulfed the entire 6,000-square feet area. The fire in this three-decade-old building is suspected to have been ignited by a short circuit. It destroyed about 100 tonnes of garments, which was meant to be supplied to at least 45 national and international brands, including Adidas and Nike.

The inferno was such that asbestos sheets, roofs and walls collapsed and iron beams and hundreds of metal racks melted in its intensity. It took the Fire and Emergency Services six hours and 28 fire tenders to douse the flames. Private water suppliers were also called in to assist the firemen, and water from 18 tankers were used to bring the blaze under control.

“We heard a big sound before the fire broke out,” Ashwath Reddy, a Gokaldas Exports employee, told presspersons. Eyewitnesses described the scary scenario of thick smoke choking the entire warehouse which was soon overwhelmed by the flames.

While only three fire tenders were sent to the scene initially, more were summoned after the fire spread rapidly. Though it was brought under control within an hour, it took some time before it was completely put out because of the thick smoke, eyewitnesses said.

A Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) official said electric wiring, switchboxes, fuse wire, junction boxes and all other power-supply related equipment were old.

Fire and Emergency Services personnel said the warehouse had a few defunct fire extinguishers. “Though crores of rupees worth goods were stored, the place lacked sprinklers, hydrants, water jets, fire detectors, heat detectors, emergency lights, carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms,” said a fire official.

Keywords: Fire accident

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