Around 15 to 20 vehicles of the Kerala Fire and Rescue services were lined up along the Overbridge-Attakulangara stretch on the busy MG road in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday morning. For over three hours, fire force personnel were battling to quell a massive fire, which broke out in a commercial establishment in East Fort.
Reports state that five units of the fire force personnel (over 30 vehicles) were pressed into service on an emergency basis to quell the fire, which broke out inside the Chellam Umbrella Mart at 9 am on Tuesday. No casualties have been reported thus far.
Fire force vans from all fire force stations in the capital city, including two vans from Thiruvananthapuram Airport, arrived to douse the fire.
According to reports, an employee of the Umbrella Mart first noticed the smoke inside the building as she opened the shop shutters. The fire force personnel were alerted at 9.15 am and the staff and owners from the neighbouring shops were immediately evacuated as part of rescue operations. The stocks from these shops were also removed.
Speaking to TNM, District Fire Officer, Abdul Rasheed, said that the main challenge was to ensure the fire did not spread to other commercial buildings in the vicinity. “This particular area is congested. There are also houses behind the shop and we had to ensure the fire did not spread further," he said.
During the initial stage, the power connection to the area was also cut off as wires and electric poles were hanging close to the shop.
Fire force personnel from five units worked for over four hours to douse the fire. Presently, 90 percent of the fire has been doused, as per reports. The shop, however, has been entirely gutted and most of the inventory has been damaged. According to reports, goods worth over Rs 1 crore have been damaged.
Kerala Minister Kadakkampally Surendran has said that a probe will be launched to ascertain the cause of the fire. Preliminary findings suggest that the fire broke out due to a short circuit.