What was once one of the tallest buildings in Chennai’s North Usman Road – the commercial hub of the city- is now a smouldering ruin of iron and steel.
The fire that was raging in the Chennai Silks building for 38 hours was finally put out by firefighters at around 8.30pm on Thursday. The seven-storey building is a shell of what it once was. Four floors caved in, ravaged by the fire, while the façade has been destroyed by flames, smoke and firefighters, who used every possible means to contain the blaze. What remains of the Chennai Silks showroom stands dangerously on this arterial, crowded stretch, that is home to silk sarees, and gold jewellery.
The demolition process began on Friday morning, once the state government gave the nod to demolishing the Chennai Silks building, which had violated several norms. The process which will be spread out over the course of three days, is being carried out by the Chennai Corporation, Public Works Department, technical experts from IIT and Parveen Traders, a private entity.
Explaining the process of demolition, Peer Mohammed from Parveen Traders says the primary tool that will be used for the work are jaw cutters. “The machine is called Volvo EC 460 and it expands to a height of 26 meters. The height of the building is about 31 meters. In order to reach the top floor of the building, we will lay debris on the ground and create a ramp. The work will be over in the next three days,” he said.
From Thursday evening, more than 20 trucks of debris were brought to the site in T Nagar to form a bed of debris, to create the ramp.
The demolition work began at 11am on Friday, but after an hour of work, experts found that the height created was still not enough for the machinery to reach the seventh floor. The work was suspended until more debris was trucked in.
An official from Chennai Corporation explains that this is the only technology that can be followed given that the building is located in a highly congested place. He said, “We cannot say how many days it will take for the demolition process, it depends on the building stability and the process.”
The demolition will start from the upper floor, and will involve pulling the centre pillars using jaw cutters, says the official, who noted, “Because the place is so congested, we have to make sure that it does not affect the nearby buildings,” the official said. He added that three jaw cutters have been brought in for the demolition process.
The work was also delayed with small fires erupting in the building.
At around 4.30am on Wednesday, a major fire broke out at the Chennai Silks building in T Nagar. While 12 people were rescued from the showroom, it took 38 hours, 450 fire personnel and around 7 lakh litres of water to contain the blaze. A suspected short-circuit is believed to have triggered the fire. Lack of ventilation, coupled with numerous building violations made the task of dousing the flames an enormous challenge for firefighters.
(Edited by Anna Isaac)
Source: The News Minute