Kochi: A fire broke out at the fourth storey of a popular shopping mall near Edapally on Tuesday noon. However, no one was injured as hundreds of customers, mostly cine goers, were promptly evacuated by security staff and personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services before thick smoke began to envelop all over.
The blaze was first noticed at 11.15 am at the kitchen of the ‘Chak De’ food court of Oberon Mall, setting off the fire alarm. The mall had just opened for the day with most of the people arriving at the five-storied building to watch movies being screened across four screens at fourth floor.
“Primary probe revealed that kitchen duct accidentally caught fire from the oil sprinkled while making food (tantoori) and it soon engulfed the thermocoal ceiling and began to spread. The water sprinkler, part of inbuilt fire fighting system, which was in manual mode was soon operated. The flames were doused; however, thick plume of smoke started billowing out. We had to break the glasses at the floor,” said a Fire Force personnel indulged in the rescue work.
“The blaze was under control but accessibility to the floor became difficult due to smoke spreading out. However, people in the mall and multiplex were safely evacuated the main stair and fire exit,” said M P Dineshan, Commissioner.
According to Fire officials, there were nearly a thousand people. “Had it happened in the evening or night, it would have resulted in casualties as the customers will be several times more. The smoke was the major hurdle and it took us half an hour just to enter and spot the source of fire. We’d to use breathing apparatus and oxygen cylinder after the personnel felt suffocation,” the Fire Force official said.
Three units of Fire tenders were deployed and the fire was doused in 20 minutes. However, the personnel were engaged in rescue work till 3 pm and ensured no one was trapped inside. The Fire tender units experienced difficulty with accessibility inside the mall compound with only one vehicle being able to approach backyard.
“There was not much damage as the flames were doused. The kitchen and the food court got engulfed but the other shops (mobile and textile and Games area) suffered limited damage only. The fire fighting system worked properly. The mall is closed. We’ll send a team for inspecting the mall and suggest the work to be done. It will be closed for a few days and will be opened again for public after a final inspection,” said R Prasad, Divisional Officer of Fire and Rescue Service.
Police and officials from the district disaster management authority aided the Fire Force in the rescue works.
Do’s and Dont’s in case of fire
1. Immediately pull the fire alarm and exit the building.2. Do not use the lifts. Use staircases. There would be separate emergency staircases in high rise buildings.3. Stay alert and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.4. If there is smoke stay low to reduce inhalation exposure. Do not try to take pictures or videos of the fire.5. When evacuating the building, be sure that there is no fire danger on the other floors.6. Once away and clear from danger go to your refuge area and await further instructions from emergency personnel.7. Don't spread rumours or fake alerts on social media.