KOCHI:The first floor of Kurishinkal Tharavadu, a house at Fort Kochi that stood witness to 150 years of the region’s rich and turbulent history, was completely gutted, and the ground floor was partially damaged, in a fire that broke out on Saturday morning.
Prakash Berly and Pearl Prakash, the elderly couple who were inside the house when the accident occurred lucky escaped unscathed. They apparently did not know when the fire broke out. According to Fire and Rescue Service officials at Mattancherry, the fire could have started on the first floor of the house, which is situated on KB Jacob Road, Fort Kochi, around 7 am on Saturday. “By the time the Fire Department received the call around 7.55 am, the fire had swallowed a major portion of the first floor of the house that is built of wood and tiles,” said station officer Suresh Kumar.
Soon, two more fire units from the Club Road Fire Station joined the fire fighting and extinguished the fire by 11 am. The operation was led by Fire and Rescue Services assistant division officer, Ernakulam, Sidhakumar.
The preliminary inspection indicates that the fire was caused by electrical short-circuit. Valuable documents; two televisions; computer; gold and diamond worth Rs 3 lakh and home appliances were destroyed in the fire. The total loss is estimated at Rs 10 lakh.
‘Kurishinkal Tharavadu,’ the ancestral house of former MLA K J Herschel and former municipal councillor K J Berly, is currently shared by Prakash Berly and Santhosh Berly. The latter was not at home when the accident occurred.
According to local residents, E M S Namboothirippad, A K Gopalan and K Kelappan had spent their days in exile at Kurishinkal Tharavadu.