No casualty reported, property valued at lakhs of rupees destroyed
Noor Jehan Open Grill, one of the busiest restaurants in Palakkad town, was destroyed in a blaze on Friday.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel battled for over an hour to put out the blaze. Although no casualty was reported, property valued at lakhs of rupees was destroyed. Two dozen-odd staff working in the restaurant ran out to safety as the fire broke out on the kitchen side on the ground floor of the three-storey building around 11.40 a.m. There were no customers at the restaurant then.
The flames soon spread to the other parts of the restaurant before engulfing the entire building. The fire gutted an adjacent restaurant named Arabian Grill too.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel reached the spot in five minutes and started fighting the blaze. They could prevent a potential blast as they removed 13 gas cylinders from near the kitchen. The firemen also guarded the generator and an electric transformer adjacent to the building from a potential explosion. A joint examination by the officers of the Electrical Inspectorate and Fire and Rescue Services unit found that all electrical circuits were intact.
An exhaust fan in the restaurant’s kitchen was suspected to have burned from overheating, and thus sparked off the fire. The thin plywood and aluminium panelling on the walls and the ceiling fuelled the fire. In less than half-an-hour, the entire furniture and the kitchen on the ground floor of the restaurant had reduced to ashes.
District Fire Officer Arun Bhaskar said the interior work, including the false ceiling and wall panels, had helped the fire spread quickly.
“The interior and exterior beautifications done on such commercial buildings are actually a big compromise on fire safety,” Mr. Bhaskar said.
When the beautification materials inside will fuel the fire, the cladding material outside will contain the smoke within the building. “Exhausts are usually closed for interior decoration. The exterior cladding work on concrete structure is often dangerous from a fire safety point of view,” said Mr. Bhaskar.
Traffic along the Stadium Bypass Road was diverted for a couple of hours. Owned by Mohammed Riyas, Open Grill is known to be the most popular of Noor Jehan’s chain of restaurants in Palakkad town.
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