A major fire broke out in the Vanakbara harbour in Union Territory of Diu off Saurashtra coast in Gujarat on Sunday gutting half-a-dozen fishing trawlers, 30 huts and scores of vehicles, however, no casualty was reported.
Officials said that the fire started from one of the huts lining the jetty in Vanakbara at around 7.55 am and soon spread to other parts of the harbour. The shanties which act as storerooms for the fishermen were stocked with barrels of diesel, cooking gas cylinders and fish catch. As the fire raged, diesel drums and LPG cylinders exploded.
“The fire gutted three fishing trawlers hauled up on shore for repairs and one anchored near the dock. Two cranes owned by fishermen association have also been damaged. The fire has also destroyed 50 huts and equal number of kuccha houses. We estimated the total damage to be worth around Rs 10 crore,” said Lakshman Solanki, president of local Koli community and former president of fishermen association of Vanakbara.
Vanakbara is a village panchayat located some 14 kilometres away from Diu town. It is some four kilometres away from Nagva beach, where Diu festival is currently going on.
Firefighters from Diu and Veraval, Kodinar and Una towns of Gujarat as well as Gujarat Ambuja Cement Limited plant in Kodinar were pressed into service to douse the fire. “We could control the fire by only around noon 12, after a four-hour-long operation. Since there were lots of barrels of diesel, we had to summon foam cans from Diu airport. Finally, we managed to put out the fire at around 4.30pm,” Dinesh Vadhwana, assistant station fire officer of Diu told The Indian Express.
Ramesh Fulbadiya, leading fireman at the operation said diesel made the fire worse. “As the fire spread, diesel barrels and LPG cylinders blasted. We sprayed water but the fuel kept on burning. The fire could be controlled only when firefighters reached here with foam,” he said.
However, the police said no casualty or injury was reported in the incident. “Primary estimate suggests that around 30 huts have been gutted. A few fishing trawlers and around 10 auto-rickshaws and motorbikes have also been damaged in the fire. But no injury or human casualty has been reported till now,” in-charge police inspector of Diu, Dhanji Jadav said.
While the police said that they were yet to ascertain how the fire started, Solanki claimed it began from dunga or hut owned by one Lakha Bamaniya. “A woman was preparing breakfast and sparked the fire. Fishing trawlers of Lakha Charniya, Dinesh Panjari, Jivan Khariya and Tulsi Solanki have been burnt to ashes. This is for the first time that such an incident has happened in Vanakbara,” added the fishermen community leader.