Four women dead in Coimbatore fire accident

Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Four women died in a fire that broke out in a commercial complex in Coimbatore Thursday morning, police said.

Eight people, including three fire and rescue service personnel, sustained injuries and were admitted to a hospital. The four women who lost their lives are: Margaret Mary, Vijaylakshmi, Keertana and Sri Lakshmi.

Mary and Vijaylakshmi were the housekeeping staff of the building while the other two were employees of share broking firm Sharekhan.com, where the fire first broke out.

Initially it was believed that the fire broke first in the Axis Bank’s branch located in the commercial complex on the Avinashi Road in central Coimbatore.

More than 15 fire tenders from Coimbatore and nearby places battled for over two hours to douse the fire.

Helicopters belonging to the armed forces were also pressed into service to rescue people if they were trapped on the roof top of the commercial complex.

Senior district administration and police officials visited the accident spot.

Police said two people who jumped from the building to escape the fire sustained injuries.

Investigators have still to ascertain the cause of the blaze. Speaking to reporters, Mohan Krishnan of Sharekhan.com said there was a power tripping at around 10 a.m. and there was high voltage on inverter.

When the air conditioner was switched on there were sparks and it may have led to the fire.

The accident puts the focus on the flouting of the fire safety regulations in multi-storied buildings. Nine offices were located in the commercial complex and people had difficulty to escape as there was no separate fire escape.

Expressing her grief at the death of four women, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced a compensation of Rs.100,000 to their families, Rs.25,000 for those who sustained serious injuries and Rs.10,000 to those who suffered simple injuries.

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