Six persons, including four women, died of asphyxiation following a major fire in a multi-storey commercial complex in Secunderabad, officials said Friday.
The six were found in an unconscious condition by firemen on Thursday in a room on the fifth floor of the ’Swapnalok Complex' building and were rushed to a state government-run hospital, they said. All six were brought dead to the hospital, a doctor said.
A senior police official said the cause of death would be known after investigation but, most likely, suffocation and inhaling smoke could be the reason. Legal action will be initiated, the official said.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed grief over the deaths in the fire accident and announced an ex-gratia Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the each deceased.
Officials, who took up fire fighting operation said the external staircase in the building, that houses several private offices, garments and electronic shops, was found closed with unused articles dumped there.
Twelve people were rescued from the building using hydraulic platform and six, who complained of suffocation and some illness after inhaling smoke, were admitted to different hospitals, officials said. Some of those, who were trapped inside the building flashed cell phone lights seeking help.
Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services Director General Y Nagi Reddy, who inspected the spot told reporters on Friday that a fire call was received at around 7.20 PM on Thursday and fire tenders were immediately rushed to the area.
He said 12 people were rescued. During firefighting and rescue operation, six others were found in an unconscious state in a room on the fifth floor and they were brought out and shifted to hospital, but they died.
Examination (of the building) has been done and in all probability electric short-circuit could be the reason behind the blaze, he said.
Fire safety systems were put in place in the building but none of them were in working condition, he pointed out. Majority of the damage has been reported in the fifth floor of the building while few offices located on the seventh floor were also damaged, the top official said adding the fire was totally brought under control.
The staircase and fire shaft in shopping complexes, malls, commercial and residential complexes should never be kept locked, he said.
The fire erupted in one of the offices on one side of the building's block and no one was present. However, those working in the office opposite to it died as they were unable to escape.
The victims belong to Warangal, Mahabubabad and Khammam districts of Telangana. They were employed in a marketing company which had an office in the complex, officials said. The deceased were aged under 25.
More than 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to extinguish the blaze as huge flames leapt out from one of floors of the eight-storey building and smoke emanated from the premises earlier.
The fire was brought under control after midnight on Thursday, another official supervising rescue operation said. The fire is suspected to have started from the fifth floor of the building, said the official.
Three people were feared killed in a major fire in a five-storey commercial building in Secunderabad this January. The fire ravaged the building which was subsequently demolished.