A minor fire snowballed into a tragic incident at a bakery in Kodungaiyur on Sunday morning. One fire officer was killed and three others injured after a cylinder burst while they were dousing the flames within the eatery. In addition, 37 civilians have also been injured.
According to reports, a fire broke out at the bakery on Meenambal street at around 1am. The Kodungaiyur fire station was immediately alerted and personnel were dispatched to put out the fire.
The Director of Fire and Rescue services, S.George, told TNM that only one fire tender and 4 firemen were initially dispatched to the site.
"It was a small bakery and this should have been enough. But what happened was that a commercial 17 kg LPG cylinder in the establishment burst," said the Director. "It led to a huge blast and a sort of fireball effect, that resulted in one fire officer's death," he added.
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. The 52-year-old hailed from Virudhunagar.
Rajadurai and Lakshmanan, two other fire service personnel, sustained major injuries and are being treated at Apollo Hospitals, while the fourth man of the team, Jayabalan, managed to escape with minor injuries.
As soon as the cylinder burst reinforcements were called in. More fire tenders and ambulances rushed to the scene and the injured were taken to nearby hospitals. The District fire officer was also rushed in.
"Over 30 people who were watching the operations were injured," said the Director. "The source of the initial fire is being investigated."