The building is in a precarious state and the pillars have weakened due to the fire.

After many continuous hours of fire Chennai Silks building dangerously weakened
news Fire Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 16:17

The building of the Chennai Silks showroom in Panagal Park, a landmark of the city’s shopping district, is in a precarious condition thanks to a devastating fire that began in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

According to police and fire officials present on the scene, the fire, which has been burning for over 11 hours has caused significant structural damage to the building. They say that the supporting pillars of the building have been weakened, and are strongly concerned that the building could collapse as a result.

The fire began at 4.30am, as a result of a short circuit, officials suspect. Since then, till at least 2pm, the ground floor of the building was continuously engulfed in flames.  While 15 fire tankers and three sky lifts were deployed, fire efforts were hampered by the inability of fire personnel to access the interiors of the building.

“The smoke is too much; fire personnel are not able to enter all the floors. We are doing our best to control damages. It is for the safety of people around the area that we have cordoned it off. Health camps will be set up so that people around the area can get medical help.” D Jayakumar, Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu said.

For many hours, fire personnel doused the fire by spraying water from the centre of the T Nagar flyover, directly opposite the building.

TNM reporters live from spot at 4.00 pm

Members of the fire brigade couldn't even enter the seven-storey building because of the large clouds of black smoke. They were forced to break down parts of the building's facade to let the smoke out. 

Fire officials from Teynampet station who spoke to The News Minute said that the lack of ventilation in the building is the problem. "All these buildings have centralised ACs and don't have enough ventilation. So, the smoke travelled up all 7 floors with no means of escape. We had to break windows to start clearing the air inside. The owners should have ensured that there was enough ventilation."

"We already have rules for commercial establishments, in terms of fire safety. They should have fire extinguishers and fire exits. If these buildings are not following the rules, we will investigate and then if they're not following these rules, we will demolish the buildings." Jayakumar said.

Fire safety officials had to further depend on private water tankers to help douse the fire. 

The first floor according to fire officers, contained the jewellery section and they suspect the fire has caused huge monetary damage.  All the clothing, jewellery and provision store in South Usman road have been shut for the day and area has been cordoned off completely.

(Both pictures were taken after 3 pm)

 

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