Genset installations against rules, said Fire Department officials

A fire broke out inside a generator room of Sutherland Global Services in Velachery on Thursday afternoon. No one was injured and the over 500 employees were quickly evacuated. Fire Department officials, who inspected the spot later, said the genset installations were against rules.

According to Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS), the fire call from Sutherland was reported at 12.30 p.m. and five tenders from five stations, including Raj Bhavan, Guindy and Thiruvanmiyur, were rushed to the spot with over 20 firemen.

“At 12.20 p.m., the fire alarm started ringing and security personnel rushed in and started clearing the floors. Initially we thought it was a drill, but we realised that it was real emergency after seeing the flames,” said an employee without revealing his identity.

It was a chaotic scene outside the building as the area turned a traffic bottleneck. Motorists stood and watched thick black smoke billowing from the rear end of the building on Tambaram Main Road, Vijayanagar. Staff of the BPO firm, who rushed out after fire alarms went off, gathered outside and were seen clicking pictures on their mobile phones.

Fire tenders and five Metrowater lorries made their way into the premises with great difficulty and sprung into action . Security guards of the eight-storeyed building denied entry to mediapersons gathered outside. They even snatched a still camera from a photographer of a regional daily who sneaked into the building to get a closer shot. The camera was handed over after an argument.

The fire was put out within an hour and senior TNFRS officials, including Chennai City South DFO S. Veeramani, inspected the spot.

Speaking to mediapersons later, Mr. Veeramani said sparks from a genset used during routine power cut are suspected to have triggered the fire. “A diesel tank carrying 500 to 600 litres next to the genset went up in flames. We used water and foam to prevent the fire from spreading to a 20,000-litre underground diesel tank nearby,” he added.

Mr. Veeramani said the proximity of the three gensets to the eight-storeyed structure was against building code norms. “I have reported this to the CMDA and Chennai Corporation authorities and asked them to the take necessary action against the building owners,” Mr. Veeramani said.

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Petlee PeterJune 28, 2012

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