KERALA

55 houses gutted at Anchuthengu

RESCUE ACT: Fire and Rescue Services personnel putting out the fire that broke out at Anchuthengu on Saturday afternoon; (right) remains of the huts gutted. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar  

Staff Reporter

District Collector visits the site of the incident, Tahsildar to assess the damage

ANCHUTHENGU: Fifty-five houses belonging to the fisherfolk were gutted at Anchuthengu on Saturday afternoon. Thirteen houses were damaged in the fire.

Twelve fire tenders from seven fire stations in and around Thiruvananthapuram were rushed to the spot, close to 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Fire and Rescue Services personnel said the fire appeared to have originated from a leaking gas cylinder kept in one of the houses. Some houses were partially demolished by fire-fighters and local people in order to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby areas.

Relocated

District Collector N. Ayyappan, who visited the site of the incident, announced an immediate payment of Rs.500 to each of the affected families. "The affected families are being relocated for the moment. While the men are being taken to a nearby school, the women will be housed at the panchayat's community hall. We will also construct three to four semi-permanent sheds to house these people for a short period. As per the directives of the Minister for Revenue, permanent houses will be built for these people, on land identified for the purpose, within three months," he said. Arrangements have been made to provide food and water to the people who lost their homes. The Tahsildar has been asked to assess the damage caused by the fire and submit a report, he added.

Although no casualties were reported from the area there were many who had a narrow escape from the fire.

Lilly Alexander said she had just got out of her house after having food when a child sitting nearby shouted out that the house was on fire. "Before anybody could do anything the fire was burning as tall as the coconut trees and spreading fast in the strong wind. Everyone started screaming and running out of the huts," she said.

Cicily, an 80-year-old woman, who was too feeble to move, was dragged out of her burning hut in the nick of time. "We have lost everything in the fire. It was a terrible thing to see. By the time the fire-force arrived all the huts were gone," she said.

While the fire destroyed many certificates of school and college students, one person lost his passport to the blaze.