Major blaze in city apartment kills 5

In one of the deadliest fire mishaps in recent times, five persons, including a child and two women, died when their apartment complex was engulfed in flames on Sunday night at Puppalaguda on the city outskirts.

The fire that raged for more than five hours originated from a shed adjacent to Baba Nivas Apartments that is used to store material used for film shooting. The complex is located near Manikunta Golden Temple in Sriramnagar.

“The shed was used to store decoration materials and other props for movies, The fire which might have been resulted from a short circuit spread rapidly,” said P. Prabhakar Swamy, Ranga Reddy district fire officer. Three fire engines were deployed to fight the blaze from Langer Houz, Filmnagar and Madhapur.

Eight adjacent apartments were engulfed in the blaze and thick suffocating smoke almost immediately.

Cyberabad police commissioner Ch. D. Tirumala Rao confirmed that five persons had died. “Four of them are adult and one is an infant,” he said adding that the dead included two men and two women.

There were horrifying scenes at the site, and paramedic staff were seen carrying infants with burn injuries in their hands.

Eyewitnesses said those who died had tried to run down the stairs and would have suffocated in the smoke. “There’s only one staircase, which is beside the sh-ed,” an eyewitness said. A woman who received burns said, “My father-in-law Bhaskar Rao, a watchman of the apartment, is missing.”

Home minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy and Thirumal Rao reached the scene and began supervising the rescue efforts.

Five ambulances of the 108 service were summoned to take the injured to hospital. “We got the call at around 8.30 am and fire personnel from Filmnagar reached almost immediately,” Prabhakar Swamy said.

Sriramnagar Colony and surrounding areas were filled with smoke as the firefighters struggled to put off the flames. The fire brigade could not deploy its snorkel. “It’s difficult for a snorkel to reach the area as the roads are congested,” Prabhakar Swamy said.

Firemen had brought the fire under control when reports last came in. However, the thick smoke hampered rescue work. The police suspects that the death toll may rise as many people are still missing.

The police evacuated people from the nearby buildings as a safety precaution. A large police force from Rajendranagar was also rushed to the spot.

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