A major fire broke out in a 10-storey apartment complex on Ormes Road, Kilpauk on Sunday morning. It took nearly an hour-and-a-half for fire fighters to put out the blaze, suspected to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit in an apartment that was gutted.

Over 30 families were evacuated to safety, thanks to a timely alert by some residents. The complex, named Prince Apartments, has 36 flats and around 200 residents live there.

Around 1.40 p.m., white smoke started billowing out of a fifth floor apartment belonging to Ashok Kumar Lahotiya. After inspection of the flat, firemen said that live electrical equipment could have caused the accident. The fire broke out when the Lohatiyas had left for lunch.

B.J. Dhanaraj (83), who lives in an independent house adjacent to the apartment complex, said that he smelled smoke before he saw the blaze. “I peeped out of my room and saw thick white smoke coming out of the fifth floor flat and an AC machine on a window was in flames. I shouted out to my son-in-law John who immediately called the fire control room,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) sources said the fire alert call on the accident was received at 1.56 p.m. and firemen with seven fire tenders from Kilpauk, Vepery, Egmore, Triplicane, Esplanade and Vyasarpadi fire stations were rushed to the spot.

Meanwhile, the fire spread from the fifth floor flat to apartments on the two floors above and thick black smoke emerged. Electronic equipment burnt with load noise and a burning window AC attacked to the fifth floor came crashing to the ground.

Some firemen climbed atop the water tank of Dhanaraj’s house and sprayed water into the raging blaze while the rest took positions on the apartment complex. Another fire tender mounted with a 150 feet skylift was rushed to the spot from the Kilpauk fire station. Residents had to frantically push cars in the apartment complex to make way for the tender.

The firemen managed to extinguish the blaze following a battle that lasted till 3.30 p.m. No one was injured as the residents got out of the building within minutes of the fire beginning. The fifth floor flat was completely damaged in the fire, while the sixth and the seventh floors were partially burnt.

The loss suffered is yet to be ascertained, TNFRS sources added.

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