A major market in the heart of Chennai stays closed off as a fire raged for the second day in a row at a large shop which offers textiles. By the evening, the fire was almost smothered, but the area remained covered in thick smoke.
No wounds have been reported; 12 individuals were rescued using hydraulic lifts.
The top five stories of the building that houses Chennai Silks collapsed in this morning because of the intense heat. The fire started at 4 am yesterday in the seven-story building, reportedly as the result of a short circuit. The Housing Minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan said that the building had legal permission for only four floors.
Announcing the area unsafe, the police have cordoned off the busy T Nagar which has forced the shutdown of different shops and offices in the area for two days.Zero visibility was reported for upto two kms till noon.
More than 150 fire fighters battled the flames. More than 100 water tanks were used, but narrow roads made it tough for emergency equipment to be conveyed to the spot.
“We needed to wreck a part of the front exterior of the building so water could be let deep inside,” a fire fighter was cited as saying by one of a leading news agency.
Authorities said the showroom stocked plastic things and garments. The building had false ceilings which burst into flames quickly.
Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister RB Udhaya Kumar visited the area along with experts including one from the IIT Madras to assess the damage.
He said the next step for the government was to “remove the building without causing any disturbance to commercial and residential buildings in the region.”
However, he recognized that it will be difficult to demolish the structure.
“Pillars were strong and brick walls have cracked,” he said.