A major accident was averted in Abirami Mega Mall on Monday morning, after a suspected electrical short circuit near an eatery led to a fire. Over 40 firemen battled the blaze and put it out within 30 minutes. No one was injured in the incident.
Sources with the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) said the fire in the second floor of the building was reported at around 6.50 a.m. on Monday, and tenders from the Kilpauk, Vepery and Egmore fire stations were rushed to the spot .
“Around 6.15 a.m., when a security guard on duty tried to turn on the main switch outside the Swarna Sakthi Abirami cinema hall on the second floor, smoke started to emerge from the electrical unit. Before he could get a technical to the spot, a fire started,” an employee said.
The firemen, who reached the spot, used gas masks to enter the floor. They pressed the tenders into action with support from Metro Water lorries and put out the fire . A skylift was also brought to the spot in case of a rescue effort.
The false ceiling, wooden decors, doors and other items in the eatery outside the cinema hall were partially charred. No one was injured in the fire as the few employees who had reported for work escaped from the building in time. If the fire had broken out during the later part of the day, it could have been devastating, fire department sources said.
The Hindu Divisional Fire Officer (North) D.N. Velayuthan Nair, in-charge of operations for the day, said that the eatery where the fire started did not have a sprinkler installed. .“The mall seems to have the necessary fire safety apparatus and signage. However, a police enquiry would ascertain all that and also the cause of fire,” Mr. Nair said.
The building, on Purasawalkam High Road, houses a mall with shops and food courts and three cinema halls. Over 5,000 persons come to the mall daily.