On Sunday, a minor fire turned into a tragic accident after an LPG cylinder at a bakery on Meenambal Road in Kodungaiyur in Chennai exploded, killing one fireman and injuring two others. Following this, it has come to light that the bakery did not have a trade license and was sold to another person just about two weeks ago.
Tondiarpet zone corporation officials have told The Times of India that Om Muruga Hot Chips had opened shop just about a fortnight ago, and it was too short a time for the owner to have applied for a trade license. The officials said that the owner used to sell pani puri from a tiny bunk shop encroaching the footpath until recently, and had bought the shop about 15 days ago.
An official said that a shop keeper has to apply for the license between 15 to 60 days after they start their business. He added that this rule is followed because many of the shopkeepers get license for tea shop and run a restaurant instead.
However, it is not yet known if the building had plan approval from municipal authorities. One of the main documents to be submitted for trade license is an NOC from the fire department, but a source told TOI that this shop is hardly 100 feet and the corporation would not have insisted on fire safety.
Zonal officials said that they will make sure that the shop has trade license if the vendor is planning to re-open the shop.
In the accident, one fire fighter died and two of them were critically injured and were admitted to Apollo Hospitals. Ekaraj, who was attached to the Kodungaiyur fire station, was trying to put out the fire along with other personnel when the cylinder exploded. He succumbed to head injuries and severe burns.
About 38 people who were bystanders in the accident were also injured. Some reports state that the people were standing there to take pictures, selfies and record videos of the incident.