Massive plumes of smoke smothered the sky above Panagal Park in Chennaiâ€™s T Nagar, as firefighters battled a major fire in the building housing the Chennai Silks Showroom.
A large area of around 500m around the commercial building, stretching the length of Usman Road was engulfed in smoke, as the fire continued to burn over eight hours after it began.
According to fire officials, the fire, which began at 4.30am in the morning is still to be extinguished in the interior of the building.
Fire personnel have been unable to enter the building, and have been dousing the fire from atop the centre of the T Nagar flyover, directly opposite the building. At around 1pm, they decided to break through a portion of the back of the building in order to gain better access to the fire.
While one fireman has been injured in the firefighting efforts, 11 persons who were in the canteen of the building were rescued earlier in the morning.
Officials say that the fire is suspected to have started as a result of a short circuit. They say that two floors of the building have been damaged. However, plumes of smoke could be seen rising from multiple floors of the building. The ground floor of the building has reportedly been on fire since the start of the fire at 4.30am.
15 fire tenders have been deployed and additional private water tankers have also been brought in to assist in the firefighting. Three skylifts have also been deployed.
All shops along South Usman Road have been evacuated. The T Nagar flyover has been closed to all traffic on all sides. From South Usman Road, all traffic has been redirected to Burkit Road. From the other side of the flyover, traffic has been redirected to North Usman Road.
While officials say that large amounts of damage seem unavoidable, personnel have not yet been able to determine the extent of damage as they have not yet been able to enter the building.
Watch the video from the scene here: