Inferno engulfs Peenya footwear unit

Fire raged for over eight hours with 45 fire tenders, 250 personnel fighting the blaze

Inferno engulfs Peenya footwear unit

No loss of life was reported. Only one employee sustained a minor injury. Nearly 45 fire tenders and 250 fire personnel were pressed into action at one of the several units run by Elastrex Polyesters Private Limited, which was engulfed in smoke after highly inflammable material caught fire at 3.50 pm.

Fire personnel pointed fingers at the company’s negligence after they found that the defunct fire fighting equipment had not been replaced. The fire raged for nearly eight hours.

The employees of the company, which manufactures soles for footwear, were evicted from the factory as the smoke started spreading wildly.

Fire department officials said the evacuation process was haphazard, but quick, as people rushed out without looking back on how big the accident was. The fire started in the basement where a chemical tank burst into flames leading to the gutting of the entire godown filled with highly inflammable substances.

While the initial response of the Fire Department was quick, water scarcity in Peenya industrial area was quite severe for them to douse the rapidly spreading fire. “We were forced to reinforce three fire engines with nearly the entire fleet available in the City. As many as 45 fire engines were trying to control and douse the fire through the evening,” said a fire department official.

Foul play suspected

While preliminary investigations pointed towards an accidental fire, foul play has not been ruled out. “We are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire,” said a senior fire department official.

It is learnt that there was a fire accident in one of the company’s other factories eight months ago. The company has four processing factories in the City.

“None of the fire hydrants in the factory was working and none of the staff had been trained to control the fire,” informed the official.

Meanwhile, Rangabyrappa, the injured, has been shifted to KPJ Hospital.

The owner of the company said they can ascertain the loss incurred only by Saturday. The unit was “anyway completely insured,” he added.

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