A major fire erupted in a godown at Juna Bazaar in Mangalwar Peth early on Wednesday,leading to five godowns,five shops and 13 huts being gutted. About eight compressors in a godown exploded during the incident,leading to panic in the area. A short circuit is being cited as the reason behind the fire. While no fatalities were reported,a few persons reportedly suffered minor burn injuries.
According to the fire brigade,the fire started around 12.50 am at a godown where waste paper,plastic and cloth were stored. The residents noticed the flames and informed the police as well as the fire brigade. A police team led by sub-inspector Abasaheb Phuke and about 55 firemen reached the spot soon. However,by that time inflammable material in the godown had helped the fire spread quickly over the area.
Eleven fire tenders and eight water tankers were pressed into service. It took about an hour for the firemen to bring the situation under control. The operation continued till 7 am. We left the spot only after ensuring that fire was doused, said chief fire officer Prashant Ranpise.
Police said the loss in the blaze is estimated to be a few lakh rupees. The worst affected were the residents in 13 huts around these shops and godowns,who lost their homes and belongings in the fire. Eight compressors in a refrigerator godown exploded one by one,and the blasts were heard in a radius of a kilometre around the area,eyewitnesses said.
Police said most of the residents were asleep when the fire broke out. However,someone raised an alarm and residents rushed to help each other move to safety.
Santosh Woderao,a resident whose home was gutted,said there was no fire safety arrangement in the shops and godowns in Juna Bazaar. There have been fires in the past too in this area,but nobody bothers to take precautions, he said.
Rajendra Kalaskar,manager of Falcon enterprises,an electronics shop which caught fire,said,We have suffered huge losses. Most of the electronic equipment like air-conditioners and refrigerators have been damaged. Nobody was present in the shop when the incident took place.
A team of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) too visited the spot to ascertain the cause of fire.
Juna Bazaar is open every Sunday and Wednesday. Apart from the damaged shops and godowns,it was business as usual in the rest of the market.
Local politicians,especially the newly elected corporators,visited Juna Bazaar to assess the situation.