Rising to the challenge

Panic spread in Kozhikode city as soon as people saw smoke billowing from SM Street, one of the busiest business centres here, on Thursday morning. Rumours of a bomb blast were rife. Some hinted at an earthquake.

The participation of the local people was the highlight of the rescue operations on Moidheen Palli Road where the fire broke out killing five people. The sight of traders and their employees pouring water in small buckets to save their shops was heart-rending. At some point, the crowd got so near to the burning shops that the rescue operations were hindered. The local people then took the initiative to control the crowd by creating cordons.

The people stepped in to manage the traffic on the city roads. Only when news of the fire being brought under control came around 2 p.m. did normality return.