TN: Bodies of 2 Saravana Stores staffers found

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Chennai, Sep 2: Nearly 24 hours after the worst-ever fire in the city, the bodies of two employees of the Saravana Stores, which was gutted, were recovered from the debris on Tuesday, Sep 2 morning.

Fire and Rescue Services Department sources told UNI here today the bodies of Kottasamy (27) of Tenkasi in Southern Tirunelveli District and Ramajayam (22) from Tuticorin District were charred beyond recognition. The bodies were found on the fifth floor of the six-storeyed building, located on the busy Ranganathan Street in South Chennai, where the employees normally slept after work. The bodies were removed to the Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem. Meanwhile, the Fire Services personnel were on tenterhooks as another fire broke out at midnight when they were clearing the debris on the fifth floor.

When asked about this, one of Fire Services Personnel said the heat from the burnt articles led to the fire yesterday.

For the second successive day, the ever-busy Ranganathan Street, the commonman's shopping destination, remained out of bounds for the public. All shops in the street remained closed and the entire stretch of the road wore a deserted look but for the presence of police and a couple of fire fighting units.

The Fire Services sources said two fire fighting units were stationed at the spot as a precautionary measure as the buildings had developed numerous cracks and faced the threat of collapse.

''Since the entire complex was congested, there was no ventilation for the heat to escape. Normally, the heat has to go out within three to four hours.

''In this case, since there was no escape route, the heat wave was inside the complex for several hours weakening the entire structure.

''Because of the excessive heat, the building's strength has come down and there is a threat of it collapsing,'' the sources said.

With Ganesh Chaturthi festival scheduled for tomorrow, shopowners of the Ranganathan Street urged the police to permit them open shops and throw open the road for public. However, police refused permission on the ground of public safety as the ill-fated building was badly damaged and could collapse. Vehemently arguing with the police, the office-bearers of the Ranganathan Street Merchants Association said they would take care of the safety of the employees and urged the police to barricade the area near the building and allow public movement.

Despite repeated pleas, police officials refused to budge on the ground if the building collapsed the entire street would be affected.


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