CHENNAI: Two fires, one at the Chetpet Power sub-station and the other in a hutment in Nungambakkam, kept the fire and rescue personnel up all night after they received their first call at 11.20 pm on Thursday.
A distress call was received at 11.20 pm from Chetpet sub-station of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) regarding a fire outbreak in a transformer. The 11 KVA power transformer which has 10,000 litres of coolant oil, burst into flames after the coolant got heated up leading to a large explosion.
As many as three water tenders were pressed into service and district fire officer (Chennai Central) V Manivannan led the team in the operation to douse the flames.
As the blaze continued to spread, two foam tenders were called in. A foam tender from Ambattur and another from Basin Bridge were used in the operation that lasted about two hours. Sources said the loss was pegged at `1.5 lakh. It may go up since the transformer was completely burnt and a vehicle stand in the vicinity was also destroyed in the fire. A team of 60 personnel fought for over two hours to douse the fire. The operation ended around 1.30 am on Friday.
Within an hour, the second distress call was received from a slum in Nungambakkam and the same team led by Manivannan was pressed into service. The fire, which started in a single hut around 2.30 am, spread to almost every other hut in the settlement which had about 150 huts.
As the huts were close together, the streets were so narrow that the fire tenders could not be taken close to the huts. Long tubes had to be used to reach the blaze.
LPG cylinders, which were in some of the huts, blasted because of the excessive heat. As many as 3 cylinder blasts occurred when the fire personnel were at work.
Firefighters had to work for about 4 hours until the fire was doused. However, all the 150 huts were charred in the fire and the loss of property is expected to run into several lakh rupees.