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Chennai, January 16, 2012
A leading fireman was killed and two others, including a woman Divisional Fire Officer (DFO), suffered burns and injuries in a major fire mishap at the Ezhilagam Campus on the arterial Beach Road at Marina here early this morning.
The victims, who were the first to reach the spot on getting information, entered the dilapidated structure when it caved in, police said.
The Ezhilagam Campus on the Marina front houses several government departments.
The fire, which broke out on the first floor housing the offices of Social Welfare, Industries and Commerce Departments, soon spread to the second floor when the first team of Fire and Rescue Services personnel, headed by DFO Priya Ravichandran and consisting of Leading Fireman Anbalagan and Fireman Murugan, arrived at the scene.
Since it was a colonial structure built during the erstwhile British regime, it had wooden floorings and wooden roofs that resulted in the fire spreading fast.
Soon after they entered the first floor, the floor gave away and other structures, which were on the verge of collapse, also caved in.
All the three came crashing down to the ground floor, in which Anbalagan suffered burns and extensive injuries. He died on the spot and his body was taken to Government General Hospital.
DFO Priya suffered 45 per cent burns besides other external injuries while Murugan suffered fractures and injuries to his limbs and shoulders, Director of Fire and Rescue Service Bholanath said after visiting the spot.
They were admitted to a private corporate hospital where Priya's condition was being monitored. Murugan was said to be out of danger.
Fire service sources said more than 10 fire fighting units from various parts of the city and over 30 water tankers, besides skylifts were pressed into service.
More than 60 fire service personnel battled hard for more than four hours and brought the fire under control.
Though the reason for the fire was not known, some stationery and miscellaneous items were gutted in the fire.
However, the Social Welfare Department Commissioner's Office and Assistant Commissioner's office, located on the first floor of the two-storeyed building, remained intact.
Police have cordoned off the area and the loss was being estimated, sources added.