Rs. 40 lakh worth crackers, new SUV gutted; cause of fire yet to be ascertained
Mysore/Mysuru: The major fire that broke out at the ‘Jupiter Forum Cracker Stall’ godown and shop on Rane Madras Factory Road in Hebbal Industrial Area yesterday has caused widespread damages.
The actual damage could not be witnessed and assessed due to thick smoke billowing from the building and searing heat when the incident occurred last afternoon and evening.
Today morning, however, the damage was visible as the fire had been contained and the location resembled a destroyed building in a war-torn nation.
The fire destroyed crackers worth Rs. 40 lakh and a new KIA SUV belonging to the owner, in addition to causing extensive damage to the building. Initially, it was estimated that crackers worth over Rs. 5 crore were burnt.
To combat the fire, a total of 14 fire extinguisher vehicles from the Fire and Emergency Services Department were deployed, including nine from Mysuru city and six from neighbouring taluks such as T. Narasipur, Hunsur, K.R. Nagar and Srirangapatna.
The serial explosions in quick succession that occurred at the godown caused panic and tension in the area for some time before it became clear that the loud noise was due to the crackers catching fire. People were able to move to safety and heaved a sigh of relief.
However, environmental activists have pointed out that the godown was located opposite Bommanahalli Lake and had caused damage to the local flora and aquatic species in the water body.
The owner of the godown, Anand Rajagopal Shetty, stated that he had been using the godown to stock crackers for the past 4 to 5 years, and had been running the cracker shop there for 8 to 9 years. He mentioned that he had recently stocked up crackers worth Rs. 40 lakh due to the upcoming village fairs and elections, and had stored them along with the old stock in the godown.
It is currently unclear how the crackers caught fire, but the resulting fire completely burnt the cracker stock to ashes and also destroyed Anand’s new KIA car, which had been purchased just 15 days back. Anand’s guest house, which was located on the first floor, sustained some damage, and a nearby timber shop was also slightly affected by the fire.
Wife, staff escape unhurt
Anand further explained that his wife had driven to the godown in the new car to check on the stocks. After inspecting the stock, she and the staff had exited the godown, locked it, and were standing at a distance with the new car still parked in the godown premises when the fire broke out.
“They quickly moved to a safe distance, and within five minutes, the entire godown was engulfed in flames. Fortunately, no one was inside the godown or shop when the incident occurred,” Anand said.
He mentioned that he had a valid licence to run the business and had also insured the godown and shop. The licence is valid until 2027. He expressed his appreciation for the fire personnel who played a crucial role in controlling the fire and preventing it from spreading to nearby buildings. He also stated that he is cooperating with the Police investigation.
‘Use open spaces to set up cracker godowns, shops’
MIA objects to cracker units in industrial areas
Suresh Kumar Jain, the General Secretary of the Mysore Industries Association (MIA), has stated that cracker godowns and shops should be set up in open spaces, whether in residential or industrial areas. Additionally, there should be sufficient space between the two shops to prevent any accidents.
Jain pointed out that the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), which grants permission for cracker stalls in the city, must ensure that enough space is left between the two shops. However, in this case, there was not enough space left between the godown and other buildings, which was a clear violation.
He argued that permission should not be given for cracker godowns or shops in industrial areas, as it could endanger many industries. In this regard, MIA had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Superintendent of Police (SP), City Police Commissioner, officials of the Fire and Emergency Services and Gram Panchayats.
Jain added that the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) had also objected to granting permission for cracker godowns in industrial areas, but it was still granted.
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