Combustible material stored illegally, say officials
A major fire broke out in a chemical godown on Veerapillai Street off Commercial Street in Shivajinagar here on Sunday.
Fire and Emergency Services personnel took a full five hours to douse the fire which spread from the fourth floor of the four-storeyed godown of Bright Chemicals, where the fire broke out at 4.52 p.m. A large quantity of “extremely combustible chemicals, wood polish and thinner” were illegally stored here, Fire and Emergency Services officials told The Hindu.
Veerapillai Street is an old residential area and storage of chemical, on such a large scale, is not permitted. As many as 21 fire tenders were used to fight this fire.
That it was a holiday was a blessing in disguise. Had it been a working day, the thick chemical fumes and heat generated on the top floors would have hindered rescue operations. The fire was first spotted in the evening by two security guards and after their efforts to control the fire proved futile, they alerted the fire control rooms. Fire personnel struggled to control the fire owing to the fact that the building was old. Worried that the building would collapse, fire officials and the police rescued several families and shop keepers from buildings surrounding the godown.
What triggered the fire remains unknown. The Fire and Emergency Services personnel said that they were instructed to wait for the building to cool down before they can enter it. Visiting the accident site, Jija Hari Singh, DGP, Commandant General, Home Guards and Director of Civil Defence and Fire and Emergency Services, expressed shock at the “violation”. “How can a building in a residential area be allowed to store chemicals that too on such a large scale?” she asked. Ms. Singh said that the Department of Fire and Emergency Services will investigate the matter.