Fire razes shopping complex

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A major fire destroyed a multi-storied commercial building, Harmony Private Limited, at Begumpet, SP Road, near the Pantaloons showroom on Sunday.

The fire gutted three floors of the building that housed several interior fabrication material shops.
Fortunately, no casualties were reported as it being Sunday, shops in the complex were not open.

Sources said that the fire originated from a transformer situated near the building. It took eight fire tenders, including fire vehicles with hydraulic platforms, more than six hours to bring the blaze under control. The Water Board and the GHMC assisted with more than 50 water tankers.

Rajesh Shah, owner of the building, alleged that the fire would have been manageable but for the fact that the fire personnel were not quick enough to respond. “When the fire originated it was a very minor one. In fact I went to the first floor of the building but the fire personnel were hesitant to go inside and douse the fire. Gradually the fire spread to the entire building,” said Mr Shah.

The fire officials, however, denied this and said the building lacked minimum fire safety standards.
District fire official Khaja Kareemuddin said the control room received a call at 9.30 am and immediately a fire tender from the nearby Secunderabad fire station was rushed to the spot and the fire fighting operation started. Later seven more fire tenders joined the operation.

Blaze throws city Traffic out of gear
The fire that broke out in Begumpet near the bottleneck brought the traffic on the SP Road to a standstill for several hours on Sunday.

Traffic movement from Secunderabad side to Begumpet was diverted at NTR statue to Minister Road.
The traffic was also diverted at Paradise Junction.

Commuters had a tough time as vehicles could move only at a snail’s pace on the section from 9 am till 4 pm. Motorcyclists were seen trying to dodge the traffic jam by using the lanes.

Traffic was also diverted from CTO to Paradise, Ranigunj and Karbala Maidan. West zone traffic ACP K. Madhu said the traffic movement towards Secunderabad was diverted towards Minister Road, Paradise, Ranigunj etc.

“After the fire personnel brought the blaze under control by the evening, the traffic movement was normal,” said Mr Madhu.

“We were quick enough to turn up at the spot and start the fire fighting. There was no hesitation on our part,” he added.

According to Mr Shah, excluding the building, his losses might be of more than Rs2 crore just from the materials which were gutted in the fire.

The fire control room was alerted by a bus commuter who saw the flames spreading to the building.
The three floors housed showrooms of Harmony, Maisha, Hunter Douglas, Armstrong Ceiling and Floor, Gareware sun contr-ol films and Ego Wall Paper and Wooden Flooring etc.

The building developed cracks due to the heat and the stability of the ground-plus-three floor building has come under scrutiny.

“Considering the security of the public, traffic will be barred near the building; only one line will be opened for traffic,” said North Zone DCP Ch. Srikanth.

Meanwhile, the GHMC said its engineering wing would inspect the building to check its structural stability.

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