A major fire ravaged a shopping complex at a commercial hub in West Tambaram on Tuesday afternoon. While on one was injured, the damage to property was huge, investigating policemen said.
The fire reportedly broke out at a store room on the second floor of Roja complex on Shanmugam Road around 2.45 p.m. It quickly spread to several shops on the same complex in just a few minutes. The sidewall of the neighbouring shopping complex was also damaged in the fire.
The blaze gutted goods like plastic utility items, textiles, furniture and electronic items in at least four shops in the complex. Police evacuated people from the area and many roadside vendors rushed to remove their goods. However, many such vendors, including those selling used books, lost nearly all of their property.
Ranjini, who had come to the Tambaram shopping hub, said the smoke engulfed the entire market area and the two-wheelers parked in front of the shopping complex were also damaged.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Tambaram, Guindy, MM Nagar, Chengalpattu and Siruseri with as many as 12 fire tenders battled hard for more than six hours to bring the fire under control. The Ministry of Defence also lent a helping hand by providing a fire tender from their Indian Air Force Station in Tambaram. A Skylift Hydraulic Platform of 54m from Teynampet fire station was also used in the fire-fighting operations.
More than 50 lorry-loads of water provided by Tambaram Municipality were arranged to replenish the water tanks of the fire tenders. Jamal Mohamed, a trader, said his friend Durai Rajkumar, working at one of the shops in the complex, informed him that at least two people were trapped in the flour mill on the ground floor of the building.
However, they came out of the building unharmed. The fire was brought under control by 9 p.m.
Tambaram police suspect the fire accident to have been caused due to an electrical short circuit in one of the junction boxes.
Joint Director of Fire and Rescue Services, Northern Region, S. Vijayasekar said lack of fire fighting equipment and absence of emergency exits and setback areas in the complex were a major cause for concern. Moreover, traders, who sold inflammable materials, also posed a risk. Activists alleged that not even a single complex on Shanmugam Road and Rajaji Road – another commercial hub — conformed to basic fire safety requirements.
Source: The Hindu