A major fire broke out at a five-storey building in Kochi on Wednesday. However, no casualties were reported in the incident.
According to sources, the fire broke out at a building near the Ernakulam South Railway station that housed the godown of Paragon footwear distribution agency. The fire broke out at around 11 a.m. and continued to spread. The fire and rescue services units found it difficult to contain the flames.
All workers in the building were evacuated. People from the nearby buildings were also evacuated.
Specialised firefighting units from oil firms, the Navy and the airport were pressed into service as it was suspected that chemicals were also stored in the godown.
The flames could brought under control by the afternoon after firefighters used foam sprays. Over 20 fire fighting units took part in the operation that lasted till about 5 p.m.
A worker in the building said that there were about 30 workers inside and all were evacuated safely. The value of total stock in the godown was estimated to be around Rs. 5 crore.
The fire broke out on the first-floor. Though the fire and rescue services were alerted immediately, it took about 30 minutes for the fire-fighting units to reach the spot due to peak-hour traffic in the city.
Fire and Rescue Services sources said that electric short circuit was suspected to be the cause of the fire as some workers said that the fire broke out from and electric display board.
The fire and rescue services will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the fire. Since the building was under fire for several hours, the structural strength also would be examined.
There were widespread allegations of improper maintenance of fire safety equipment by many high-rise buildings after obtaining the permits and no-objection-certificates. In many commercial building emergency exits and terrace were used as godowns.