Panic reigned in the Chala market on Monday evening after a fire broke out at a wholesale toy store.
Although there were no casualties, firefighters and police were kept going for about two hours.
The fire was noticed around 5:15 p.m. at the Mahadev Toy Shop, near the Sree Padmanabha theater. The fire engulfed the third floor of the building which apparently served as a dumping ground for plastic and plush toys. The store had a large stock of cotton used to stuff toys and the fire quickly spread.
However, the prompt action of fire and rescue personnel prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the building or to those adjacent to it. In addition to a post office, jewelry, clothing and shoe stores operated outside the building. Several stores reopened Monday after a month following the easing of containment borders.
According to traders nearby, a load of toys was brought to the godown operated by a native of Rajasthan hours before the incident. Burnt plastic smoke could be seen coming out of the building for a long time.
About fifteen fire brigade units from the Rajaji Nagar, Chakka and Vizhinjam fire stations were mobilized to bring the fire under control in an hour and a half. Officials also undertook a brief inspection to detect the source of the blaze. While a short circuit is suspected to have led to the fire, a full investigation has been opened. A member of the fire and rescue services was slightly injured while fighting the fire. He was admitted to the general hospital.
District collector Navjot Khosa requested reports from firefighters and the city secretary on the incident.
Mayor Arya Rajendran, who visited the site with deputy mayor PK Raju, raised the possibility that the godown was built illegally. The makeshift installation was built using corrugated iron sheets.
“An investigation into the allegations of unauthorized construction will be conducted by the engineering wing of the Company,” she said.
She added that the Company’s previous board had gathered details of buildings that lacked fire safety. An in-depth investigation will be launched into these irregularities and appropriate measures will be adopted after examining each case.
Ministers Antony Raju, GR Anil and VK Prasanth, MLA, also took stock of the situation.