A major tragedy was averted on Wednesday morning after a fire broke out in the basement of a shop in Phase 7. The fire had managed to spread to two other shops in the area before the fire department doused it after jostling for nearly three hours.
While there were no casualties in the accident, a shop owner claimed to have incurred a loss of nearly `70 lakh in the incident.
According to witnesses, the fire broke out in the basement of KKR enterprise due to a short circuit. Witnesses said that around 11am, a blast was heard after which smoke started coming out of the shop’s switch board.
The employees of KKR enterprise and the neighbouring shops rushed upstairs after smoke started spreading in the basement.
Rajinder, one of the owners of KKR Enterprises said, “We were surrounded by smoke before we could even react. It is only because everyone came out in time that no lives were lost.”
Three fire tenders reached the spot within five minutes and were later joined by three more tenders.
SAFETY NORMS FLOUTED
Fire officers said it took them long to put out the flames as they could only enter the basement through a narrow-staircase.
There were no windows or vents from where the smoke could emit out or the firemen could enter the basement. Fire officer Davinder Singh Dogra said, “Most of the shops in the area had plastic, cardboard and thermocol stored in them which started emitting harmful gases after catching fire.”
He added that the fire department would ask the administration to take action against the building owner as not even a fire extinguisher was there in the basement which could have been used by the employees.
FIREMEN ARRIVE SANS EQUIPMENT
Meanwhile the ill-preparedness of fire department also came to fore during the accident.
The firemen arrived at the spot without any masks and oxygen cylinders. It was only when the smoke made it unbearable for them to enter the basement that they got masks and a sole oxygen cylinder.