Nine persons were killed and 12 others injured on Monday after chemical drums caught fire in a four-storeyed building in Hyderabad, the Hindustan Times reported.

Those killed included two women and a child.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) M Venkateshwarlu told reporters that a spark during the repair of a car ignited the chemical drums stored in the stilt area of the building in Bazarghat suburb around 9.30 am, according to the newspaper.

“The repair work of a car was going on in the godown on the ground floor,” he said. “The sparks spread to the chemical barrel kept in the godown and caused the fire. It is an inflammable chemical stored in fibre-plastic manufacturing. Within no time, the fire engulfed other floors of the building.”

The fire was brought under control within an hour and 21 people in the building were rescued, the official added.

Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force also took part in the rescue operations.

Eight persons rescued were unconscious, Venkateshwarlu said. “According to the information received from the hospital, seven of them died – some due to burn injuries and others due to asphyxiation,” he said.

The deceased have been identified as Md Azam (58), Rehana Sultana (50), Faiza Sameen (26), Thahoora Fareen (35), Tooba (6), Tarooba (13), Zakeer Hussain (66), Hasib-ur-Rahman (32) and Nikath Sultana (55), The Times of India reported.

Venkateshwarlu also said that the chemicals were stored illegally.

“It is a dense residential area,” he added. “They should not store any such hazardous chemicals. But it is not possible to take action unless we get a complaint.”

The cause of the fire and the extent of damage are yet to be officially ascertained.