Panic prevailed in the Chala market on Monday evening after a fire broke out at a wholesale toy shop there.
While there were no casualties, Fire and Rescue Services personnel and the police were kept on tenterhooks for around two hours.
The fire was noticed around 5.15 p.m. at Mahadev Toy Shop, near Sree Padmanabha Theatre. The fire engulfed the third floor of the building that was apparently used as a godown for plastic and stuffed toys. The shop had a large cotton stock used to stuff toys and the fire spread rapidly.
However, swift action by the Fire and Rescue Services personnel thwarted the fire from spreading to other parts of the building or adjacent ones. Besides a post office, jewellery, garment and footwear stores functioned out of the building. Several shops reopened on Monday after a month following the easing of lockdown curbs.
According to traders nearby, a load of toys was brought to the godown operated by a Rajasthan native a few hours prior to the incident. Smoke from burnt plastic could be seen billowing out of the building for a long period.
Around 15 fire units from the Rajaji Nagar, Chakka and Vizhinjam fire stations were pressed into action to bring the fire under control within an hour-and-a-half. The officials also undertook a short inspection to detect the source of the fire. While a short circuit is suspected to have led to the fire, a detailed investigation has been instituted. A member of the Fire and Rescue Services sustained a minor injury during the fire-fighting. He has been admitted to General Hospital.
District Collector Navjot Khosa has sought reports from the fire force and the city Corporation secretary on the incident.
Mayor Arya Rajendran, who visited the spot along with Deputy Mayor P.K. Raju, raised the possibility of the godown being constructed illegally. The makeshift facility has been built using corrugated iron sheets.
“An inquiry into the allegations of unauthorised construction will be conducted by the Corporation’s engineering wing,” she said.
She added that the previous council of the Corporation had collected details of buildings that lacked fire safety clearance. A detailed inquiry will be launched into such irregularities and appropriate action will be adopted after examining each case.
Ministers Antony Raju, G.R. Anil and V.K. Prasanth, MLA, also took stock of the situation.