Fire and Rescue Services personnel found it extremely difficult to extinguish a fire that broke out in a textile shop opposite the south tower of Meenakshi Sundarewarar Temple here on Monday.

Following a call received at around 4.30 a.m., tenders from Periyar Bus Stand, Tallakulam and Anuppanadi fire stations were pressed into service. Thirty fire fighters controlled the fire till 6 a.m. from spreading to other establishments since the shop was located on South Chithirai Street choc-a-bloc with textile showrooms. Deputy Director (Fire and Rescue Services) Shahul Hameed supervised the operation that came to end by 9.30 a.m.

According to the fire brigade, the old building — ground floor and first floor with asbestos sheet roof — caught fire after a suspected electricity leak from a house behind the shop where some of the owners of the textile shop lived.

A possible fire from the split air-conditioner unit in a bedroom might have spread to the shop. As the inmates were sleeping in another bedroom, they had not noticed it for a long time. There was no casualty. As there was severe heat, and smoke filled the shop, the fire personnel found it difficult to enter into a go-down behind the shop. After great difficulty, they gained entry through an adjacent school and using breathing apparatus, they gained access into the go-down and doused the fire. The small go-down was not only full of all kinds of goods, but cramped as well thus vastly hampering the operation of firemen. There was no safety gadget at the shop. After the fire accident, the building has been declared unsafe.

Police have registered a case. The exact loss from the fire could not be ascertained immediately, fire personnel said.