Fire in India’s Kolkatta market kills 18

Inferno killed 18 in India.
Inferno killed 18 in India.

At least 18 people were killed and many injured when a fire broke out in a multi-storey market complex in the eastern Indian city of Kolkatta.

New Delhi, Feb 27/Nationalturk -At least 18 people were killed and more than a dozen injured, some of them critically, when a fire broke out in a multi-storey market complex in the eastern Indian city of Kolkatta Wednesday.

A police officer said fire broke out in the multi-storey market complex in Sealdah area of Kolkatta at around 0400 hours.   “The building, called Surya Sen market, houses shops and several plastic and paper godowns that also store chemicals,” he said.

He said at least 18 persons were killed in the inferno and more than two dozen injured. “The injured were shifted to various city hospitals, where doctor have termed condition of some of them as critical”.

The official said fire-fighting and rescue operations were hampered by the heavy smoke in the narrow lanes leading to the building on fire. “Besides, there was only one exit in the building, which was reportedly blocked for some time due to the fire”.

He said 26 fire tenders were pressed into service. “It took them over three hours to control and extinguish the fire”.

He said most of the victims were shop owners and workers, who had stayed in the market overnight.  “About 38 people sleeping in the building were rescued by the firefighters,” he said.

A senior police official said the exact cause of the fire is not known yet. “However, initial reports suggest there might have been a short circuit on the first floor, in an eatery. The very old building has tangles of electricity wires hanging outside and dark, cramped corridors inside”.

Chief Minister orders probe

The Chief Minister of Indian State of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee has ordered an inquiry into the fire incident. “The probe will be jointly conducted by police, fire department and the municipal corporation. They will submit the report in three days and on the basis of the report, action will be taken”.

“Why has this incident happened? There are so many inflammable objects that if anybody lit a small fire, it could turn into a major fire. The probe will look into all aspects,” she said.

Banerjee announced that families of victims will be given Rs.0.2 million (INR) each as compensation.

Earlier, in December 2011, 94 patients and staffers died in a fire at the Advanced Medicare Research Institute Hospital in Kolkatta.


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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News


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