Shopping mall fire: Miraculous escape for Nilamel people

Published: 04th September 2012 02:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2012 02:34 PM   |  A+A-

With the gas tanker tragedy at Chala in Kannur district last week still fresh in their minds, the people of Nilamel heaved a sigh of relief, as a tragedy many times the magnitude of the Chala incident was averted on Monday.

It was a close shave for the petrol bunk of Hindustan Petroleum, adjacent to the gutted shopping complex.

The 8,500litre underground petrol tank in the bunk was in danger of exploding as it was close to the gutted bus and motor cycles. The prompt efforts of the Fire and Rescue Services personnel, Kollam Rural Police and local people prevented the petrol pump and tank from going ablaze.
In the process they were preventing one of the deadliest tragedies in the state’s history.

The fire which originated from the shopping complex started consuming the private bus and three motor bikes parked at the petrol bunk, when the first batch of Fire and Rescue Services personnel led by Leading Fireman T Vinod Kumar from Kadakkal and police personnel from Chadayamangalam and Kadakkal reached the spot.

“When the first unit reached the spot, the private bus and motor bikes were already on fire. The petrol pump and the tanker lorry were dangerously close to the blazing vehicles.
Aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) was sprayed over the petrol tanks to prevent the fire from spreading to fuel storages of the pump. The petrol-laden lorry and another empty petrol tanker lorry were immediately driven away to safety,” B Byju, Station Officer of the Kadakkal Fire Station told ‘Express’.

Kadakkal SI Suneesh said that the initial effort was to prevent the fire from spreading to the petrol pump rather than dousing the fire.

“Had the fire spread to the fuel tanks, the town would have been reduced to ashes. It was miraculous that the fire did not spread to the underground petrol tank that was dangerously close to the gutted private bus,” he said.

Fire tenders from Punalur, Varkala, Attingal, Chenkalchoola and Kadakkal were pressed into service. Top officers of the Fire and Rescue Services and Police reached the spot to supervise the operations.

Kollam Rural SP K B Balachandran, Punalur DySP John Kutty K L, Fire and Rescue Services Divisional Officer R Prasad, District Fire Officer J Sujith Kumar, Kadakkal CI Ramesh Kumar P V, Kottarakkara CI G D Vijayakumar, Ezhukone C I Sadan K, Chadayamanagalam SI  Shaja Kumar, Kadakkal SI Suneesh reached the spot and led the operations.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and Mullakkara Ratnakaran MLA, visited the spot later in the day.

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