Firemen toil for over 3 hours to control flames

The half-charred body of a youth was discovered hours after a fire engulfed a ` on Narayana Mudali Street in Sowcarpet on Monday afternoon.

The fire at the first floor godown on Misri Complex, a three-storey building, was reported to the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services control room at 2.40 p.m. Fire tenders from High Court, Flower Bazaar, Triplicane and nearby stations were rushed to the spot along with over 30 firemen.

“Around 1.30 p.m., I was having lunch when there was a sudden blast in the building housing the shop,” said Vicky alias Vikram, who runs a petty shop on Reddy Raman Street, adjoining the building. Firemen faced the herculean task of getting the fire and water tenders into the narrow street, the sides of which were lined with parked vehicles including, tricycles and autorickshaws.

They then struggled for nearly an hour to control the fire and the smoke as chemicals and ingredients fuelled the flames. Both fire fighters and the crowd gathered below were worried there would be an explosion.

As the uncontrollable blaze spread to the second and third floor, the police evacuated onlookers from nearby terraces, houses and shops. Following a three-hour-long battle, the fire was finally put out.

“Around 9 p.m. as we were inspecting the damage, we found the body of the youth on the first floor. He was later identified as Lokesh (22), an employee of the unit. The presence of some machinery has raised doubts regarding the legality of the unit. We have handed over the matter to the local police,” said a TNFRS official.

The body of the victim, who is suspected to have died of suffocation, was sent for post-mortem. Police have sealed the building and further probe is on.

More In: Crime | Chennai