S. Vijay Kumar
CHENNAI: Five persons were killed and a few others injured when a fire broke out in a slum colony at Korukkupet here early on Wednesday.
Among those killed were two children and a physically challenged man who could not move and succumbed to burns on the spot. About 40 huts located on the banks of the Buckingham Canal were destroyed.
According to police sources, fire and thick smoke emanated from a hut at around 1.15 a.m. at J.J Nagar. Fanned by strong winds, the fire spread quickly. In less than an hour, about 50 huts were gutted. Tamilarasan (35) and his wife Mary (30) tried to rescue their children Sangeetha (7) and Sanjay (4). However, the thatched roof in flames came down on them. While Mary and Sanjay died on the spot, Sangeetha succumbed to burns a few hours after admission in the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital. The condition of Tamilarasan was stated to be critical. Anand (56), a construction worker who lost both his legs in an accident recently, was trapped in a hut and died. R. Vijayalakshmi (35), a sanitary worker in the Chennai Corporation, who suffered serious burns, died at the KMC later. David alias Ravikumar and Subramani were also admitted to the hospital. At least four gas cylinders burst in the fire. A cylinder exploded and the remains thrown a few metres away fell on a house injuring Ismail, who suffered minor injuries. Since the roads leading to the huts were narrow and congested, it took some time for rescuers to reach the spot, the sources added.
Director-General of Police and Director, Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, R. Natraj said there was no delay in fire-fighters reaching the scene. Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian and Minister for Slum Clearance S. Thangavelan visited the spot.