A major fire broke out in the Government Press on Mint Street in the early hours of Friday. The single-storeyed heritage structure, housing the printing and binding unit, collapsed in the fire that lasted nearly eight hours. Whatever was left standing was demolished completely by the Public Works Department late evening. None was injured in the accident.

The building was constructed in 1888 and it functioned as a gunpowder manufacturing unit and printing press for the British government.

After 1947, the State government took it over and ran it as a printing press for official documents.

According to sources in the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, the fire started around 2.10 a.m. following an electrical short from a recently fixed circuit for installing new printing machinery.

The intense fire and water from the fire hoses developed cracks on the building and damaged a few pillars, causing the structure to slant.

According to sources in the Public Works Department that maintains the press, the remaining portion of the structure had to be demolished as it was damaged beyond repair and unsafe for the employees.

(Inputs from K.Lakshmi)