Coimbatore: Four women were killed and seven persons injured in a fire that broke out on the third floor of a four-storeyed commercial complex here Thursday.
The deceased have been identified as employees of a stock brokerage firm, including two aged house keeping staff, while seven others were injured when they jumped from the second and third floors of the building, police said.
Some 200 persons escaped unhurt as they moved out through the lone exit and also by jumping down with the help of locals, police and fire rescue personnel.
People thronged busy Avanashi road where the building is located when they saw smoke billowing from the third floor of the complex housing eight companies. The watchman sounded the alarm after which the employees exited to safety, police said.
However, the four women were blinded by the smoke and got suffocated. The fire engulfed the office and burnt them partially, resulting in their deaths, a senior official from the Fire and Rescue Department said.
Nine fire tenders, including those from Air Force and Navy, fought for nearly two hours to douse the flames, only after which rescuers could bring down the bodies, initially identified as two men and two women, which were taken to the government hospital.
Two women employees of the brokerage firm who jumped down, sustained fractures and were admitted to a nearby hospital. Two firemen, who fell down during fire fighting operations, were also hospitalised with multiple injuries, police said, adding, three persons were treated as outpatients.
District Collector M Karunagaran, Police Commissioner A K Vishwanathan and other senior district and police officials supervised rescue operations.