MACHILIPATNAM:Scores of fishermen had a miraculous escape when as many as 205 huts were gutted in a fire on Thursday night at Tallapalem village, near the Manginapudi Beach, in the Machilipatnam mandal.
As the fire, susupected to have been caused by a spark from a stove in one of the huts, spread to the nearby huts, all the inmates rushed out in time and saved themselves.
The gutted huts were among the 300 odd huts erected in a temporary settlement by the fishermen who had migrated to Tallapalem from Uppada in East Godavari district.
Luckily, most of the families had returned to Uppada following the ban on fishing at the Tallapalem village till June. Those who stayed back were also lucky to survive the fire. While the fishermen made a vain attempt to put out the fire, the lone fire tender that rushed to the spot too was unequal to the task. The survivors then telephonically informed those in Uppada of the tragedy.
Unable to save any of their belongings on Thursday night, most of them were in tears on Friday after futilely rummaging through what was left of their meagre possessions.
Revenue officials who visited the spot on Friday morning could not assess the losses, as most of the inhabitants were not present to provide details. Only after they returned, the exact amount of losses can be quantified.
Collector Babu Ahmed directed the officials to ensure relief for and rehabilitation of the victims.
BC welfare minister K Ravindra also visited the spot.