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Film-sets gutted in AVM Studio fire

Special Correspondent

Facility lacks adequate firefighting systems, says Fire Services Director

— Photo: S.S. Kumar

MISHAP AT A LANDMARK: One of the shooting floors gutted inside AVM Studios in Chennai on Friday.

CHENNAI: A major fire broke out at the 60-year-old AVM Studio premises at Vadapalani here early on Friday. Two sets, including one erected for actor Vijay’s movie Vettaikaran, were gutted. An electrical short circuit is suspected to have caused the fire, police sources said.

Director-General of Police and Director, Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, R. Natraj said the fire was reported at 2.58 a.m. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot within minutes.

The fire occurred in the sixth floor (studio) set where a television channel had its set for a reality show. It spread to the sets of Vettaikaran on the seventh floor (studio).

Divisional Officer (South) Priya N. Ravichandran said the fire was extinguished around 5.30 a.m.

“By the time we reached, the sixth-floor studio was gutted and the flames were slowly spreading to the seventh-floor studio. Since the studios were made of combustible materials, the fire spread quickly. We moved many expensive lighting and other film shooting equipment to safety.”

Ms. Ravichandran said nobody was injured in the fire. The fire was put out in less than three hours and effective steps were taken to ensure that the flames did not reach other studios, sheds and the residential area on the sprawling premises.

Mr. Natraj said the studios lacked adequate firefighting systems. “We will be writing to the studio authorities to have in place basic firefighting equipment as per the stipulated norms. They should also check electrical installations in the studios at regular intervals.”

The extent of the damage was being assessed, according to sources at the studio, which in its heyday was a frenetic hub of south Indian film-making activity.

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