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Fire brigade lacks right equipment

Special Correspondent

Blaze extinguished with much difficulty in a textile shop in Madurai

— Photo: S. James

Rescue work:Fire-fighters working to put out the blaze at a shop in Madurai on Sunday.

MADURAI: A fire which broke out in a multi-storeyed textile shop off Vadambokki Street, near the famous Thirumalai Naick Mahal here, was put out with great difficulty as the Fire and Rescue Services personnel did not have adequate equipment , according to the fire fighters.

Fire tenders from various stations in the city were rushed to the spot around 1 a.m. The cause for the accident was not known immediately. The fire was put out in about two hours. However, it re-ignited and it was put out completely only around noon. The fire fighters claimed that they were hamstrung in the absence of sky-lifts to reach the building top. There was no scope to climb up from neighbouring buildings as well. Moreover, as the tall building was located inside a narrow by-lane, even the available equipment or water tanker lorries could not be moved close to the site, they charged. The Corporation of Madurai had provided water lorries and a lift used to fix street light bulbs and tubes, according to the fire fighters. The thick smoke had damaged the walls so much that firemen apprehended that the building may not be fit for use and many portions of it may collapse any moment. However, some residents' claimed that the building was of recent build.

Deputy Director Fire and Rescue Services Department Shahul Hameed and District Fire Officer Thooyamani among others supervised the operation.

The firemen said that the ground-plus-three-floor building had a huge generator placed on the terrace. It was covered with an asbestos sheet. Many of the walls had developed cracks due to the “excess” heat. “We sought the assistance of Corporation authorities to test the building strength after the accident,” they added.

When contacted, Mr. Hameed said that the Madurai Fire Division would soon get a sky-lift. South Gate police are investigating the cause and the loss of properties was being assessed.

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