Furniture and machinery kept in three floors of a garment unit in Vilakkuthoon here were destroyed in a fire that broke out in the early hours of Sunday.
Firemen from various stations had to fight for more than five hours to put out the flames. Deputy Director of Southern Region P. Saravanakumar, nd District Officer of Fire and Rescue Services S. Kalyanakumar supervised the exercise.
With the recent death of two firemen while fighting fire in a textile shop just a few metres away from Sunday’s fire accident spot still fresh in memory, the senior officials did not allow their men to enter the shops in their attempt to extinguish the flames.
The firemen were killed due to roof collapse on Deepavali day.
After getting the alert at around 4.30 a.m., fire tenders from Madurai, Meenakshi Temple and Anuppanadi fire stations rushed to the spot. Since the building on different floors were kept under lock and key, the firemen struggled to break the walls to spray water.
While the office was functioning on the first floor of the rented building, cloth cutting machinery and materials were kept in the second and third floors. Though the fire was brought under control at around 8.30 a.m., the firemen kept spraying water till 10 a.m. to ensure that the flames do not spread to adjacent buildings.
Mr. Kalyanakumar said since the building was very old, the officials did not want to take a chance with the life of their men. After the Deepavali day accident, the officials have inspected over 100 shops and issued notices on stability of the building, and lack of fire-fighting systems. They also had either only one or narrow staircase.
“We advised them to go for good house-keeping practices. Many of them had dumped the textile bundles on the staircases that allows expeditious spreading of fire from one floor to another. This also hinders free movement of people during emergency,” he said.
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