After nearly 12 hours, the massive fire that engulfed two buildings of a private plastic manufacturing unit at nearby Manvilla was doused early Thursday, police said. At least 50 fire tenders from the city, Kollam and Kanyakumari battled for hours to bring the blaze under control. According to sources in the factory, the two buildings were gutted in the fire. However, the workers managed to remove plastic chairs, buckets and other finished products from the factory. Kerala Fire and Rescue Services DGP A Hemachandran told reporters that a detailed probe would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the fire. Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behara has constituted a special investigation team to probe the incident.
"We will investigate. A forensic probe will be held," he said. At least 120 employees were inside the unit when the flames were noticed. They managed to run out of the unit, averting a major tragedy. Two persons were rushed to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital Wednesday night as they showed signs of uneasiness after inhaling the toxic fumes. District Collector K Vasuki has declared a holiday for the educational institutions in Manvilla and Kulathoor wards Thursday. Fire department sources said the factory workers tried to put out the fire soon after it broke out and alerted them only after things went out of their hand.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V K Prashant visited the area Wednesday night to take stock of the situation. Two days ago, there was a minor fire in the unit which was brought under control by the workers themselves. There are two other buildings of the unit, in which large quantities of finished plastic products were kept stored. People were evacuated from the nearby areas as a precautionary measure Wednesday.