Hours after a massive fire broke out at Kolkata’s Bagri market, a portion of the blaze has been extinguished as fire tenders continue the operation to contain the fire, said the DG of Fire Department. “Fire at the front side of the building has been brought under control. Operation is underway to douse the fire at the backside,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
At least 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to contain the fire as it began to spread across the congested market in Canning Street. No casualty has been reported yet, but hundreds of shops in the area have been gutted. One firefighter was injured while trying to arrest the fire and was admitted to Calcutta Medical College.
Authorities said the lack of proper firefighting equipment helped the blaze to spread. The building housed over 400 shops including that of medicines, chemicals and plastic goods. The market building located at 71 Canning Street is part of Burrabazar wholesale hub. The building, built in 1955, was initially three-storeyed and later two more floors were added to it. Read in Bangla
According to police, the fire reportedly started in the wee hours of Sunday on the first floor of the five-storied building and quickly spread to the floors ahead. The entire area was covered with thick black smoke. Officials of the fire department, Disaster Management Group and Civil Defence have been pressed in to contain the situation.
#KolkataFire | At least 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to contain the fire as it began to spread across the congested market in Canning Street. No casualty has been reported yet, but hundreds of shops in the area have been gutted.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) September 16, 2018
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that there has been no reports of any casualty and the fire will be brought under control soon. “Nobody is trapped in the building. Also, no report of any casualty or injury has reached us. Steps are being taken. Fire will be controlled soon,” she said.
Mayor and state fire minister Sovan Chatterjee and commissioner of Kolkata Police Rajeev Kumar visited the spot. “The area is congested and firefighters have been facing a lot of trouble trying to bring it under control. They are risking their lives trying to put out the fire,” Chatterjee said.
“It seems that they (traders) did not take lessons from previous fire incidents in the area. We have been telling them to put proper fire fighting system, but was not heeded to,” said Sudip Bandopadhyay, Lok Sabha MP who visited the site.
Firefighters used gas cutters to cut through the shutters and grilles to get access from outside. Intermittent sounds of explosions were heard since the fire broke out. Owing to the heat generated, cracks appeared on the walls of the market.
Although security guards along with their families lived on the top floor of the building, there has been no casualty reported so far and the extent of loss of property was yet to be ascertained. Firefighters were trying hard to prevent the fire to spread on to the adjoining residential buildings. They tried to spray water into the market from the building opposite to the market.
Shop owners were seen standing outside the building while firefighters tried to put it out. Ahead of Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengal, shop owners had stacked goods and losses are anticipated to run up to crores.
Till the last report came firefighters are still trying to douse the fire in the building which continues to rage even after 12 hours.
(With inputs from Partha Paul)