Eight persons were killed due to the asphyxiation after they got stuck inside the private scan center that was engulfed by a thick smoke following a fire accident in a nearby a cracker shop in Sivakasi on Thursday.
Police said that among the departed were six women & two men. Six of the victims were employees of the scan center.
They were identified as the A. Peter, manager of the scan center, A. Kamatchi (22), G. Valarmathi, P. Pusphalakshmi, and R. Raja & P. Padma Latha. Two others were identified as like Devi (18) and H. Sornakumari, who had come to scan center.
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The police said the fire was triggered by the friction while loading crackers in a truck parked on Virudhunagar Bypass Road here at around 1.30 p.m. The workers were loading the fireworks bundles from Raghavendra agency.
As the truckload of crackers was started bursting, the goods inside the shop went up in flames. With thick smoke and the engulfing the area, patients, doctors & staff of Devaki Scan Centre, located on a rear side of the shop, got stuck inside.
“They could not come out of their center as its single pathway, adjacent to the shop, was on fire,” the Sivakasi Deputy Superintendent of Police, K. Saravanakumar, said.
Smoke entered the scan center & people raised alarm seeking for help. “Only after hearing their alarm were went to its back side and was broke open the window and have rescued the people,” Sivakasi Station Fire Officer, K. Murugan said.
However, the operation was done within 15 minutes, even by then many inside the center were in the semiconscious state. “Out of 41 persons, including staff members, only 15 persons walked out after the rescue. Others people were almost unconscious. Only those eight persons, who had suffered most, had sent to the hospitals,” he added.
Virudhunagar Collector, A. Sivagnanam, and a Superintendent of Police, M. Rajarajan, oversaw the rescue work.
“The death was only because of the suffocation due to thick fumes and the none of them had any physical injuries. Among the deceased, five are employees off from scan center,” the Collector said.
The licensee of the shop, Anandaraj, & Shenbagaraman, who is running the shop, has been booked, the police said.