Three restaurants and two cottages were gutted in the fire that broke out in a restaurant named Masala Café in a fishing hamlet near ECR in Mahabalipuram. Though nobody was injured in the incident, 15 foreigners from France and Poland, who were having dinner on the first floor of the eatery, had to flee as the fire immediately spread to two other restaurants and cottages.
Police said that the fire could have started either because of some short circuit or a possible cracker falling on the thatched roof, as a few youths were found bursting crackers in the vicinity. The fire was doused by fire tenders from a nearby fire station. Revenue officials on Friday claimed that those restaurants were functioning without government licences.
“We cannot close down the restaurants because of the patronage from the fishing community. Such eateries are popular among foreign tourists,” a revenue official said.