A huge fire gutted a leading textile showroom in Chennai's T Nagar, affecting normalcy in the key commercial area, even as the blaze continued to rage 13 hours after it broke out. None was injured and 12 persons were rescued from the seven storied building, which houses Chennai Silks, a leading textile showroom on the busy Usman Road.

The mishap affected normalcy in the city's key commercial neighbourhood, which came under thick clouds of smoke and soot. The incident hit movement of traffic and led to closure of commercial establishments and retail outlets in the vicinity. 

Also, some residents living close to the showroom were requested to stay off by authorities. 

More than 100 tankers had so far supplied water to douse the fire and 150 firemen were still on the job to put out the blaze. 

A PTI correspondent who visited the spot found almost nil visibility due to thick smoke, which had spread upto two to three kilometres. Road users, including two-wheeler riders and pedestrians, were put to acute discomfort. 

Officials from multiple state agencies, including fire and rescue, city police, Chennai Corporation and revenue department are on the spot coordinating to douse the fire. 

The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained though it is suspected to be due to short-circuit. 

"Our priority now is to put out the fire and extinguish smoke. We will look into the cause later," an official said. 

The blaze was noticed at about 4 AM and several fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot. However, accessing the building and spraying water inside proved challenging in the centrally air-conditioned showroom. 

"We had to demolish a portion of the front exterior of the building so that water could be let deep inside," a Fire officer said. 

Fire fighters battled hard to get into the showroom from the ground floor even as the sound of things coming crashing down heavily from within was quite audible from outside. 

Firemen surrounded the building and sprayed water from high-pressure valves to try and douse the blaze. 

Even after more than 10 hours of fire fighting efforts, flames were still seen smoldering inside parts of the building on several floors. 

Joint Police Commissioner T S Anbu and other officials told Revenue Minister R B Udhaya Kumar who inspected the spot that they were considering breaking open "some more spots in the building so it becomes easier to put out fire and smoke." 

Though some cracks could be seen in the building, officials declined to state if it was due to fire and whether it would affect the structural stability of the structure. 

"We will check everything...We will see if there were any violations later and consider appropriate options, if warranted," a senior official said. 

The mishap is expected to cause loss worth crores due to the gutting of commercial stock and the building. 

"By using skylift, we rescued 12 people. None was injured... Smoke is emanating from the basement and it is being extinguished," a Fire official told reporters, adding that an electric short-circuit might have caused the fire. 

As many as 21 fire tenders besides three skylift trucks were involved in the operations. 

Officials said to ensure safety, the showroom and the area around it had been declared out of bounds for the public.