A major fire that broke out on Sunday afternoon gutted an entire hutment at Kesava Pillai Park, Basin Bridge Road in Pulinathope.

Three persons, including a fireman, suffered minor burns. Residents assaulted firemen and damaged an ambulance alleging delay in responding to the situation. After a two-hour battle by more than 30 firemen with 11 fire tenders and 10 water lorries, the fire was put out.

A total of 192 huts were gutted, said police officials.

Residents alleged that the delay in reaching of fire service vehicles to the spot caused total destruction.

“For the first 40 minutes, it was only we residents who were trying to douse the flames with whatever little we had,” claimed Nilla, a victim.

Irked residents attacked two firemen and damaged the windshield of an ambulance of the 108 service.

They mobbed senior police officials, including Joint Commissioner (North), N. K. Senthamaraikannan and Deputy Commissioner (in-charge) Avinash Kumar who were at the spot.

According to Vijay alias Raji (15), a resident of Kesava Pillai Park, the fire started around 1.30 p.m. at a house on one end.

“Suddenly, there was a blast. I think it was an LPG cylinder in the house. The fire started spreading to other huts. People here including me ran out to safer spots,” he said. An earthmover was brought in from the Pulinathope garbage transfer station nearby and the compound wall in front of the residential area was razed. Children and elderly persons were swiftly helped out of the houses.

In a desperate attempt to extinguish the flames, residents started pumping water from bore-wells and rushed pots of water from the nearby areas.

Police sources said Kuppammal (35) and Kutty (64), residents of the hutment, suffered minor injuries and were admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Sekar, a fireman, was also injured. An investigation into the cause of fire is on.

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