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Glow sign sparks fire

Gutted facade of three shops on Elgin Road that caught fire on Thursday. Picture by Amit Datta

Sparks from a welding machine started a fire that gutted three shop fronts on Elgin Road on Thursday afternoon.

Welders were installing a glow sign atop the entrance to a mobile phone outlet at 44/1 Lala Rajpat Rai Sarani opposite Crossword when sparks fell on live wires, triggering a blaze that spread to the nearby Titan shop and a department store.

The Titan shop and the phone outlet belong to the same owner, Ramesh Thadani.

Witnesses said they heard a mild explosion around 1.50pm and saw leaping flames in front of the mobile shop.

“The facade of the two shops are completely gutted but the interiors survived,” said a fire officer involved in the rescue. Two fire engines operated for 45 minutes to douse the flames.

“Glow signs are made of inflammable materials and increasingly becoming a cause of small fires across the city,” the officer added. The workers putting up the glow sign fled soon after the fire broke out.

Thadani said he raised the alarm when he saw smoke outside his shop.

“The front side of the shop became completely dark all of a sudden. We could not see a thing, ” he added.

No injuries were reported as Thadani and his staff rushed out in time.

“We grabbed as many watches as we could from the showcases and racks and ran outside,” said a saleswoman in the Titan shop.

Only a small portion of the shop where watches are repaired got partially damaged. “This section is right at the entrance,” said a salesman.

Thadani said: “I stock the entire range of Titan. Besides, I also sell Tommy Hilfiger and Cartier.”