THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A warehouse of the Postal Department was completely gutted as a major fire broke out near the north gate of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in the early hours of Sunday.
The fire in the high security zone of the East Fort triggered panic in the capital city. At least 6 persons, including a security commando guarding the temple and five Fire and Rescue Services personnel, sustained injuries while trying to douse the raging fire.
The fire broke out around 3.30 am. The parcels stored in the Postal Department warehouse were completely gutted in the fire. The fire was first noticed by the commandos guarding the temple, while monitoring the CCTV cameras.
On information, Fire and Rescue Services personnel rushed to the spot with 15 fire tenders from various fire stations in the city. The team toiled for three hours and brought the fire under control by 6.30 am with the help of local residents, police and security guards of the temple. A police team led by Arul R B Krishna, Deputy Commissioner of Police ensured security to the heritage structure, which shot into fame after the discovery of ancient treasures in its subterranean vaults in 2011.
According to the Fire and Rescue officers, the fire spread to the building from a pile of garbage set on fire by the local residents. The tiles thatched building was completely gutted and the fire spread to the adjacent buildings including an office of the Archaeology Department.
A security personnel of the temple sustained injuries on his leg while five firemen suffered minor burn injuries and breathing problems. They were admitted to the Medical College Hospital. The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who visited the spot, said a probe will be initiated to find out the reasons for the fire accident. He said a comprehensive fire safety audit would be conducted in the East Fort high security zone to avoid such incidents in future.
This is the third incident of fire accident inside the high-security zone of East Fort in the last six months. Though the Fire and Rescue team had conducted a fire safety audit three months ago, the exercise turned into a farce due to lack of coordination between various government departments.
On August 28, 2016, a major fire broke out at a textile godown near the temple causing damage to two nearby shops. The Fire and Rescue Services had to bring a powerful Rosenbauer Panther to douse the fire.