Fire service personnel fear possibility of casualty

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Chennai, Sep 1 (UNI) Fire service personnel feared that there is a possibility of casualty in the major fire that gutted the Saravana stores on Ranganathan street in T Nagar area of the city today.

They feared casualty, as most of 1,500 people, employed in the six-storeyed building, used to stay in the sixth floor, which bore the brunt of the fire.

Stating that the damages were heavy from second to sixth floor, the sources said there was a four feet high debris on the sixth floor.

''Only when the debris gets cleared, we can know the real picture,'' the sources said, adding, ''We don't know how many stayed back in the building and how many went out.'' ''At this stage, casualty cannot be ruled out,'' they said and added that 15 people were rescued by the police and fire service personnel from the ill-fated building.

''It's a miracle and sheer luck that the entire structure, which developed numerous cracks, survived the fire.'' ''We also don't know when and how the fire broke out. Some people say some welding works were on. We got the call around 0615 hrs. The fire could have occurred even earlier,'' the sources added.

The intensity of the fire increased, due to the explosion of coolant gas systems in airconditioners and fridges stored in the godown.

This is the first major fire accident that took place on Ranganathan street, considered as the shopping hub of the city.

Fire service and police sources said the complex was constructed by violating the rules.

''If at all there is a possibility of any repair works, it can be taken up only after getting clearance from the Public Works department,'' the sources said.

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