Hypermarket goes up in flames hours before inauguration in Anantapur

Total estimated loss due to the fire is anywhere above 50 lakh according to the department personnel.

The new branch of Pavitra Hypermarket chain of supermarkets, which was to be inaugurated at 8.30 a.m. on September 2, near JNTU, Anantapur, went up in flames at 4.45 a.m. due to a suspected electrical short-circuit as per an initial investigation by the Department of Fire. The total estimated loss due to the fire is anywhere above 50 lakh according to the department personnel.

A fire tender, which was on standby very close to the JNTU, Anantapur, immediately rushed to the spot within a couple of minutes, when they received a phone call from the people related to the supermarket, who had come early in preparation for the inaugural ceremony and noticed smoke billowing from the section where all inflammable materials — sanitisers, oils, and detergent cleaners — were stored.

Assistant District Fire Officer N. Aswatha, who coordinated the fire-extinguishing operations on the ground, told The Hindu that two more fire tenders from the main office were rushed within minutes and it took them close to 3 hours till 7.40 a.m. to put out the fire. The fire seems to have started at midnight and since all the shutters were closed, it took some time for the smoke to billow out.

Three fire tenders took close to 3 hours to put out the fire that broke at the Pavitra Hypermarket in Anantapur in the early hours on September 2, 2021. Photo: Special Arrangement 


No fire clearance

The shop is located on the ground floor of a three-storeyed yet-to-be-occupied building and it does not have fire department clearance or any fire-fighting equipment on the shop premises, the department officials said. Any building, which is more than 9 metres in height and has more than 500 sq. metres of plinth area needs prior clearance from the Department of Fire and emergency fire-fighting equipment need to be installed.

The majority of the supermarket in the Anantapur district do not have the clearance from the department as most of them are housed in residential buildings that later on turn commercial. This particular building, however, was not occupied so far and the cellar and other higher floors were vacant as on date.

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