The fire that engulfed the Deccan Cooperation building on Minister Road in Ramgopalpet in Secunderabad on Thursday, 19 January, continued to affect lives the day after.
This, even as there was no official word on the fate of the three people — Mohammed Junaid (32), Mohammed Wasim (38) and Zaheer Khan (22) — who were said to be missing in the building and are feared dead.
Authorities are yet to determine the cause of the fire, suspected to be a short circuit, because they have not been able to enter the building.
However, the Ramgopalpet police have registered a case under fire accident against the two owners of the building — identified mononymously as Owaisi and Raheem.
Meanwhile, neighbours have not been allowed into their houses either because the building is a safety hazard, in that it may collapse at any time.
Conditions stall operations
The fire in the building blazed on for almost half a day on Thursday, fueled by rexine and synthetic materials.
Even after it was doused late on Thursday night, firefighters could not enter the premises to find the missing people for fear that the building might collapse at any moment.
That was the case throughout Friday as well.
They did make use of two drones to try and determine the cause of the fire, but they instead only helped bolster the degree to which the building was unsafe to enter.
“Through the drone footage, it was found that the ceiling was broken and could fall down, but no clues came to light regarding the missing persons,” a cop told South First.
Meanwhile, NIIT Warangal Director Ramana Rao and local authorities inspected the building.
As per Rao, the structure was in dilapidated condition and some slabs of the building had broken and fallen down.
He suggested against anyone entering the building.
Case to be altered if missing people found dead
The Hyderabad City Police have registered a case under IPC Section 435 (mischief by fire) in connection with the incident. However, there have been no arrests so far.
“Before the arrest of the accused, how and why the fire took place needs to be asserted. Only then can arrests be made,” DCP Central Zone Rajesh Chandra told South First.
Meanwhile, Ramgopalpet SHO G Lingeshwar Rao told South First that the IPC sections against the accused would be altered if the missing persons were found dead.
“The new IPC sections’ charges will be more serious than the current ones,” he said.
Neighbours’ suffering continues
The residents in the neighbouring buildings, who were evacuated on Thursday, were not allowed to move back into their houses on Friday.
“The authorities said that the building could fall any time, due to which they are not letting us move back. They say that this might be the case for another week or so,” A Srikanth, a Ramgopalpet resident, told South First.
On Thursday, the protesting residents claimed that their houses were damaged due to the flames, and demanded that they be repaired either by the authorities or the owner of the building that caught fire.
Meanwhile, authorities made accommodation arrangements for around 500 locals in a nearby function hall.
However, Secunderabad Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) Shailaja B told South First that several of them did not want to reside in the alternative accommodation and are making arrangements on their own.