The Ernakulam district administration has asked for a detailed report from the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services (KFRS) on the massive blaze which had engulfed a six-storey building that housed a footwear godown near the central railway station in the city. The fire, which occurred on Wednesday afternoon, was put out after several hours of firefighting and was categorised as ‘major’. There were no casualties.
The KFRS is likely to conduct a joint inspection of the godown along with the Electrical Inspectorate on Friday as part of its investigation into the cause of the blaze.
The fire is likely to have originated from the room which houses a power generator and other electrical installations at the back of the building.
It is yet to be determined if the building is safe to occupy in the days to come or will have to be brought down for demolition. During the course of the firefighting on Wednesday, large cracks had appeared on the walls, leading to fear among the public about its safety. That the building stands on the side of a narrow road alongside residential apartments and adjoining the construction of a metro rail corridor intensifies those fears.
During the course of the inspection, it will be looked into if the footwear company’s owners violated key fire safety guidelines.
The fire has also raised concerns in the Kochi Corporation about the safety of other major commercial buildings in the city and whether these buildings had appropriate fire licenses.