AT LEAST seven shops were gutted and furniture worth around Rs 1 crore destroyed after a major fire broke out at the Furniture Market in Sector 53 here on Monday morning. The fire was controlled after a struggle of around three hours by the fire brigade.
A spark produced from welding being done in a furniture shop was said to have caused the fire.
The fire brigade officials said that they received a call around 10.50 am. A total of four water bowsers and six fire tenders — three water bowsers and three fire tenders from Chandigarh, three fire tenders from Punjab and one water bowser from Panchkula — were pressed into service to douse the flames. A team of disaster management under the supervision of Sub-Divisional Magistrate Prince Dhawan, too, reached the spot.
According to information available, some work was going on in Krishna Furniture shop. Mechanics were welding some iron grill when a spark produced from the welding machine resulted in a major fire.
The fire soon spread and destroyed the furniture and other material stored in nearby shops such as Krishna Furniture, Harkrishan Furniture, Deluxe Furniture, Malwa Furniture, Shambee Furniture, Ashok Furniture and Rajpreet Furniture. The shopkeepers estimated the cost of the destroyed furniture to be around Rs 1 crore.
The president of Furniture Market Association, Satish Kumar, said that the market remained closed on every last Monday of the month and the power supply to the market was disconnected too. He said the fire broke out after a spark was produced from a welding machine running on a generator set.
“Earlier, it was only a spark but the fire spread very fast as chemicals and wooden material were stored in the shops. The fire engulfed seven shops. The shopkeepers whose shops were gutted told us that the destroyed material was worth Rs 1 crore,” said Kumar.
Asked about the lack of fire safety norms, Kumar said that the fire safety equipment could work only when the shops were open.
However, a fire brigade official said that they faced problems in controlling the fire as the shopkeepers stored inflammable material like spirit in their shops and there was no fire safety equipment.
Gurmukh Singh, owner of Malwa Furniture shop, said that they came to know about the fire around 11 am and immediately rushed to the spot.
Karamjeet Singh, owner of Deluxe Furniture, said that costly mattresses were stored in his shop and all were destroyed.