Chennai: Over 214 cars were gutted on Sunday after a major fire broke out at a parking lot near the Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai. The blaze occurred at around 2 PM and is speculated to have caught on dry grass and spread by the winds. Soon after news of the incident spread, 10 fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the fire. Fire officials stated that over 250 cars were parked in the area. A fire service official was quoted by NDTV as saying, “These cars were parked by a private company over the last one year. Some are new cars. The fire has been extinguished but smoke is still coming.”

The accident comes a day after a major fire swept through the parking area, far away from the venue of Asia’s premier air show, gutting about 300 cars on Saturday, but there were no casualties. The fire was doused in about 40 minutes by the fire brigade team including the Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has ordered the Court of Inquiry to conduct an investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also paid a visit to the spot on Sunday. During her visit, officials reportedly told Sitharaman that the cause of the fire could be due to the overheating of a silencer of a parked car. They added that the spark must have been fanned by strong winds.

Within minutes after the fire broke out, response was activated and there was quick assessment of the situation and joint planning by stakeholders, the spokesman said, adding some cars were broke open.  As many as 77 vehicles were broken open, of which 16, were already on fire to an extent, he said. The cars then were pushed out of the fire area to create an artificial break in the fire, he added.

(With Agency inputs)