Thirteen huts in which around 30 families were living in Thangal, Tiruvottiyur, were destroyed in a fire that broke out in the early hours of Monday.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel had to struggle for an hour to put out the fire, in which no one was injured. “A total of 13 huts were completely damaged in the fire that broke out after Sunday midnight. Every hut had two or more families,” said a Fire and Rescue Services officer.

Important documents lost

Apart from losing their dwelling unit, many of the hutment dwellers lost important documents. Valli (42) said she lost records pertaining to her husband R.Rajendran's death. “Since his death seven years ago, I have been approaching officials seeking a widow pension. I do not know what to do if the officials ask for the records,” she added.

D.Kamal (22), another resident, said his Crane Operator Certificate had been destroyed in the fire. “I finished my course recently and was eagerly waiting for a job as crane operator.” Mr.Kamal added that he had no clothing left, after the fire, to appear for an interview.

H.Ibrahim, a Class IX student whose books and school uniform were burnt in the fire, said he would have to study for the examinations using the books of his classmates. Residents said their ration cards, voter ID, clothing, utensils and the new colour televisions they had received from the government were among the items that were charred.

“I have lost everything in the fire. But I am happy because I was able to save my 70-year-old mother without injury,” said N.Poonjolai, a 55-year-old resident.

Keywords: Thangal fire

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012