THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Timely intervention by the Fire and Rescue Services personnel helped avert a major disaster in the high-security zone in the city near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple after two offices functioning in a building were gutted on Friday morning. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties or injuries resulting from the incident which was caused by a short circuit.
The blaze triggered panic in the area in view of its proximity to the shrine, besides being a thickly populated area. Fire and Rescue personnel said the fire broke out around 9 am at the offices of Asianet broadband and Jaihind TV functioning at Karimpanal Arcade at East Fort. Initial reports said the fire erupted from the storeroom of the Asianet office which spread to the office nearby. After plumes of black smoke billowed out, the security guards alerted the Fire Force.
Following this, six firefighting units from Chengalchoola and Chackai were pressed into service. By then the fire had spread to Jaihind TV’s office burning down the UPS systems, batteries, modems and other costly equipment.
Since Friday was a holiday, the employees were not present in the office thereby minimising the possibility of casualties or injuries. The fire tenders battled the blaze for nearly an hour before managing to douse it.
The Fire and Rescue officers said the fire and safety equipment kept in the offices were not in working condition. Hence they are likely to recommend action against the building owner. The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained.
This is the fourth such incident to take place inside the high-security zone in the last one year.
Though the Fire and Rescue team had conducted a fire safety audit three months ago, the exercise proved a mere window dressing due to lack of coordination among the various government departments.
When and how
The fire broke out around 9 am
It erupted from the Asianet broadband office
It spread to Jaihind TV’s office
Being a holiday the employees were not present in the office minimising the possibility of casualties or injuries