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Kerala: 5 killed in major fire
April 05, 2007 14:44 IST
Last Updated: April 05, 2007 18:59 IST
Five persons were charred to death and about 50 others injured when a major fire swept through a busy commercial area in the heart of Kozhikode on Thursday.
Thirty shops were gutted in the fire that was first noticed at 9.30 am in a wholesale cracker shop within a shopping complex in the busy S M Street, police said.
Three bodies were found in the cracker shop, while two more were recovered from neighbouring shops.
Only two of the dead have been identified so far. Quoting eyewitnesses, police said a deafening explosion was heard from the second floor of the complex as huge stocks of crackers were being unloaded there.
Fire fighting units doused the blaze after struggling for nearly four hours, police said.
Ruling out any sabotage in the incident, District Collector A Jayathilak ordered a magisterial probe into the fire.
Police said preliminary reports indicated the blaze was caused by an electrical short-circuit.
The controller of explosives examined the spot to ascertain if the shop had stockpiled crackers in excess of the limit laid down in its licence.
There was a heavy rush at the shop at the time of the incident on account of the Vishu festival on April 14.
Of the injured admitted to various hospitals, the condition of four was described as serious.
Claiming estimated losses to the tune of Rs 1 crore, the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, a leading traders' body, gave a call for a hartal in Kozhikode today.
Two naval Dornier aircraft with an 11-member medical team from Kochi landed in Kozhikode to provide medical aid.