CHENNAI: A 22-year-old youth was charred to death in a major fire which gutted a commercial complex housing a deodorant spray godown of a firm at Sowcarpet on Monday afternoon.
The victim, Lokesh of Maduravoyal, was trapped inside the building and his completely burnt body was recovered when the fire was put out. However, two other workers were rescued with the help of fire service personnel. After dousing the flames, the fire personnel swept the building and found the body of Lokesh in a room where the deo cans were stored. The last room on the first floor, it was shut from inside.
“He could have been eating there when the fire broke out and could have pulled down the shutter thinking that it would shield him”, said an official. All others who were inside the building during the fire was accounted for.
The building whose main entrance is on Narayana Mudali Street has another entrance in Reddy Raman Street. Entire stock at the Misri complex, including deo-spray, foam sprayers, adhesive tapes, and aluminium foils, worth several lakhs, went up in flames. Police suspect whether a duplicate deo spray manufacturing unit was functioning in that building.
The complex, located on Narayana Mudali street off NSC Bose Road, has 24 tenants running offices and four godowns. Fire started from a godown stocking deo-sprays in the second floor at 2.15 pm. Fire tenders had a tough time to gain access to the complex due to the narrow interior streets and haphazard parking of two-wheelers.
Since the spray is highly inflammable, the blaze continued to grow and quickly spread to other shops and godowns.
While the fire tenders were at work, the deodrant cans began to explode in quick succession forcing the fire fighting personnel to move away from the balconies of all the two floors and they switched to the balcony on opposite side and sprayed water and foam from there. After an hour, the fire was put out and the frequency of the blasts came down and the fire tenders began the process of cooling. The smoke from the fire caused irritation in the vicinity with smoke billowing continuously from the building.
Esplanade Station Fire Officer K Shivashankaran told Express that the fire was classified as chemical fire and there were traces of dangerous chemicals having variants of hydrocarbons. “We received the distress call by 2.45 pm and rushed to the scene. We will examine the scene of fire on Tuesday morning and we have discouraged anyone from entering into the building which was on fire for 3 hours and the ceilings had partially collapsed. It may even collapse,” he said.
“We are yet to ascertain the cause of fire and the damages. Two vehicles have been put on standby in case the fire erupts again,” he said.besdies 150 fire and rescue service personnel sans breathing masks, 19 fire tenders, four quick response vehicles which sprayed foam mixture, and 10 metro water tanker lorries were pressed into service to douse the raging fire.
For Vicky, a chat shop employee in the neighbourhood, initially it appeared as though crackers were burst. But with panic stricken people running for safety, he saw the fire and closed his shop for the day.