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Chennai: Fire engulfs another heritage building

Chennai, Jan 28 (): A major fire broke out on Thursday in the warehouse of S Chand and Company Limited, a red brick stone building located on the first floor of the Agurchand mansion in Anna Salai on Thursday morning.

The fire, caused due to a short-circuit in an air-conditioning unit was noticed by the security guard of the building, at 9 30am, who alerted the nearby shops immediately.

Fire personnel were informed immediately and they rushed to the spot. Nearly 60- 70 fire service men were pressed into service to extinguish the fire. The fire was brought under control after three hours of immense struggle by the officials.

Books that had been stacked up to the ceiling were destroyed. The fire also engulfed an improvised cabin that doubled as the shop’s front office, said an employee.

 The traffic came to a standstill in the busy Anna Salai road as there was thick smoke allover the area.  Books were quickly removed from the shop before causing much damage.

 ”The actual loss was not known, however, there was not much damage as the fire was brought under control soon,” said an official.

Agurchand Mansion, nearly a 100-year old building built in the early 1900s in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, is one of the first multi-storeyed buildings of Anna Salai and has a number of commercial outlets.

The owner of the shop, Ms Nirmala Gupta who was in Delhi at the time of accident was informed about the unfortunate  incident. Police have registered a case filed by Rajalingam, manager of the shop.

As it was a holiday on account of Republic day, there were not many school vehicles plying on the road. Vehicular traffic was however, diverted for an hour.

The fire comes barely 10 days after a blaze brought down government offices at Ezhilagam complex, another heritage structure, on Kamarajar Salai. As in the case of Ezhilagam fire, electrical leak is suspected to have caused the blaze.

ACP (Triplicane) S Senthil Kumaran said a case of accidental fire had been filed.

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