KOCHI: A major fire broke out outside the Mangalavanam bird sanctuary in Kochi, destroying a major chunk of grassland. “The fire spread to more than a square kilometre of the grassland,” Fire and Rescue Services Divisional officer Joy Eso Kuruvila said.
It took more than four hours to douse the fire which broke out at 4 pm. Kuruvila said that the fire was uncontrollable as the grassland was dried up due to summer. “We do not know the exact reason for the fire. Since the entire area was arid and the wind strong, the fire became uncontrollable, he said.
Around five tankers were pressed into service to douse the fire. In areas where the vehicle could not reach, the officials doused the fire using branches of trees. A major accident was also averted by preventing the conflagration from racing towards the fuel station on the BPCL plot, near the High Court.
As soon as the fire broke out, instructions were given to shut down the BPCL petrol bunk, lying close to a residential area.
“We had alerted the locals and BPCL officials as there was a possibility of the fire spreading to other regions, he said. Ernakulam Assistant Commissioner of Police Sunil Jacob said that additional policemen and fire-fighters have been deployed in the area.
“The fire occurred in the dry land outside the compound wall of Mangalavanam. We have only marshy land in Mangalavanam and there is no threat of any fire outbreak,” Mangalavanam ACF Radhakrishnan said.