A major fire that broke out in Premnagar village near here on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday damaged property worth around Rs two crore, said police and fire department officials. The fire burnt down the entire records and equipment of the post office, besides damaging a fair price shop, the gram panchayat office, five houses and a few retail shops, said the police, adding that around 19 people were affected but escaped unhurt.
The fire started in the grocery shop of one Pankaj Sood in Premnagar gram panchayat in Kotkhai tehsil at around midnight. It soon spread to neighbouring shops and houses, where around 19 tenants were residing. The records of the gram panchayat kept in the panchayat office were burnt, as were the records, computers, and furniture in the village post office. The fire also damaged a fair price shop. The tenants residing in the five affected houses escaped and alerted other residents.
However, there was a delay in reaching out to the fire department as the landline numbers of both the police station and the fire station in Kotkhai were not functioning, according to a police official. The fire was doused in the wee hours after fire vehicles rushed to the spot.
District officials said that relief in the form of mattresses, money and other items is being provided to the victims and a forensic team collected samples from the site to ascertain the causes of origin of the fire. The estimated loss to property caused by the fire is Rs 1.8 to 2 crore, the police said.