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Chennai Silks in flames

Thick smoke was seen emanating from the basement of the Chennai Silks building in T-Nagar at 4 am on 31 May, leading to deployment of 150 fire service personnel and 25 water tenders to douse the fire. 14 persons were rescued; there was no human loss. The exercise to completely extinguish the fire, however, took over 24 hours as building construction norms were violated. Initial investigation suggested that short circuit together with diesel barrels stocked for power generators could be the cause of the conflagration. 

Residents within 200-metres were asked to vacate their premises and the area was sealed out of public access. Going by experts’ advice, a decision was taken to demolish the building completely, a task which turned out quite challenging. On 10 June, a jaw cutter machine operator sadly lost his life during the demolition process. On 17 June, slight showers caused a major portion of the building to collapse. Since a probable collapse was anticipated, precautionary measures were put in place causing no injuries to workers. The building was finally fully demolished 20 days after the fire broke out. Loss from the accident is estimated to run into several hundred crores. The incident has caused officials to seriously look into violation of building norms.

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