Chennai, Sep 1 (UNI) Textile goods and consumer durables worth several crores of rupees were gutted in a raging inferno that broke out in ''Saravana Stores'', a leading chain of consumer goods, including textiles, in the shopping hub at Ranganathan street in T.Nagar area here today.
Police and fire service personnel said 15 people, all staff members, were trapped inside the complex in the inferno. However, all of them were rescued and none sustained injuries, Chennai City Police Commissioner R Sekar said.
About 25 fire service tenders, along with sky lift ladders and 65 metro water tankers were pressed into service.
More than 100 fire service personnel, along with police, battled hard for nearly nine hours to bring the fire under control.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. But, preliminary reports suggested that explosion of an LPG cylinder while cooking breakfast for hundreds of shop employees on the fifth floor, may have sparked off the fire.
The entire 50,000 sq ft complex comprising six floors along with two adjacent shopping complexes, housing a number of shops, were gutted.
''After battling hard for nearly nine hours, the fire was brought under control at about 1500 hrs'', fire service sources said and added cooling works were on to enable the authorities to enter the complex to ascertain the exact damage and the cause of the mishap.
A sudden downpour in the morning came as a blessing in disguise, but it did not last long.
The loss was expected to run into several crores as the stores, the first of a chain of showrooms launched by Mr Selvarathinam about 20 years back, stocked virtually every item from plastics to jewellery, consumer durables and household articles in the congested complex.
Several shopkeepers on the busy Ranganathan street and on the Usman Road downed shutters and traffic on the busy road was disrupted for several hours.
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