Thrissur: Sporadic incidents of major fire hazards have been reported from across Kerala of late. Firefighters in Thrissur could not sleep or take rest on the eve of the Lok Sabha election in the state as they were busy containing the flames at a plastic waste separation unit all Monday night. The fire that raged at the unit at Pallikkulam here even during rain could be contained by early morning only after 14 men worked nine hours with three units and a water tanker of the civic body.
In all 52 tanks of water was used, pumping a total of 1.5 lakh litres continuously to douse the fire.
The service of other fire stations was also sought. The firemen managed to stop flames from spreading to the adjacent fisheries office, houses, businesses and the main shed of the municipal corporation building.
The fire station received the first call at 9.30pm on Monday. Half of the heap, including plastic covers, had caught fire by them. Fire had engulfed an area of 50 square metres by then. Flames melted AC units fitted on the apartment complex nearby. This building had no firefighting facilities.
The collector was apprised of the development when the fire looked out of control and an earthmover was also sought. The machine was used to remove waste from underneath the fire. Though this controlled the fire, the burnt waste started fuming.
Though it started raining by 1am, the fire still raged. Firemen continued their effort despite winds and lightning. Water was sprayed onto the entire heap to stop fire from spreading. It was not before 6am they could return to their station.
Station Officer AL Lazar, Leading Fireman Paul David, Firemen Satish, Suraj, Faisal, Firoz, Sujeesh, Madhuprasad, Gireesh, drivers Shajan, Edward, Santosh Kumar, Nandan and Arun Kumar took part in the mission.
Firemen who suffered nausea after inhaling fumes were treated at general hospital. Most of them went to vote after a 9-hour task at night.
Foul play suspected
The plant is close to Pallippuram fire station. The team reached within minutes of getting the call. The firemen say the fire spread unnaturally and it had multiple sources of orgin. It came to light only after fire had spread deep into the heap.
Major destruction was averted since the fire was restricted from spreading on to the buildings nearby.