CHENNAI: Two fire service personnel fell unconscious after they inhaled noxious gas following a fire in BSNL Chennai Telephone Harbour exchange at Mannadi in the wee hours of Thursday. Police said victims, Jothivel and Saroj, were attached to Korukkupet fire station. The other personnel immediately rushed them to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where they are being treated.
Police confirmed there were no casualties. Most parts of the building were gutted. The fire and rescue services said the fire broke out around 3 am in the first floor of the five-storeyed building. The security guard, who first noticed the flames, immediately alerted the fire and rescue department who then rushed to the spot. Around 18 fire tenders from stations including Parrys, High Court and Royapuram with more than 80 personnel took over four hours to douse flames.
Police suspect short-circuit to be the cause of the fire. Fire service deputy director Sahul Hameed visited the spot. A senior fire officer said the fire spread to three storeys and all documents and equipment were destroyed. “Most of the fire personnel found it difficult as there was a lot of smoke.”
An official from BSNL who inspected the spot told reporters that around 19,000 phone services and 30 mobile phone tower connections were disrupted due to the fire. Also, servers used for public distribution system were affected. Totally, there are around 35,000 phone connections in the telephone exchange, the official said.