A fire broke out in a jetty area in Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Monday in which at least 35 fishing boats were gutted, officials said.
The cause of the blaze, which broke out in the wee hours and was doused by around 4 am, is yet to be ascertained, according to officials, who said the fire started in a boat in the zero jetty area and spread quickly.
The fire broke out in an area near the Visakhapatnam Container Terminal and an Indian Oil Corporation facility where fishing boats were anchored.
After receiving information about the accident, firefighters rushed to the spot, Visakhapatnam District Fire Officer S Renukayya said.
“We pressed 12 fire tenders into service and sought the help of the National Disaster Response Force and the Visakhapatnam Port Trust,” he said.
The official said there were no reports of any casualties so far.
According to Renukayya, the firefighters managed to control the fire from spreading to other boats in the vicinity within half an hour.
It took almost two hours to douse the fire, he added.
Visakhapatnam Deputy Commissioner of Police-Zone II K Ananda Reddy said the intervening night of Sunday and Monday was quite windy, causing the fire to spread quickly among the boats made of fibre (plastic) and anchored closely.
“Many of these boats also carry up to 5,000 litres of diesel as the fishermen venture into the sea for weeks. Many boats were also laden with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders which the fisherfolk use for cooking,” Reddy added.
There were as many as eight explosions which officials suspect to be that of LPG cylinders.
Considering the critical location of the fire, Reddy said Vizag Steel Plant fire brigade and the Navy were also alerted, while controlling the fire without further spread proved to be a big task.
According to estimates, each boat is valued between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 50 lakh, he said.
Meanwhile, police booked a case of accidental fire, he added.