Statesman news service
Kolkata, 14 November
Property worth over several lakhs was gutted in a massive fire that broke out late night at a cotton godown in the Bandaghat area of Howrah.
The godown is situated in a congested area at 51 J N Mukherjee road. 
The fire was first spotted by locals around 11 45 p.m. on Wednesday, when they saw flames emanating out of the two-storey building that houses the godown. 
"We were woken up by the screams of the people who live nearby. We rushed downstairs and found piles of cotton engulfed in flames," said Mr Sumit Verma, a local resident. 
They immediately dialled 100 and informed police. Fire tenders rushed to the spot. Locals helped firemen douse the flames. 
Around 15 fire tenders took more than six hours to extinguish the raging inferno. They also pumped water from river Hooghly situated only a few metres from the spot. 
The cause of the fire is not known. Fire officers, however, suspect crackers burst during the immersion of Jagdatri idols may have fallen on the cotton. Sources, on the other hand, said, the godown didn’t follow proper fire safety norms. 
"We have initiated an investigation to find out the cause behind the fire," said a senior fire officer of Howrah.  In a separate incident, a minor fire broke out at the cardiothoracic department situated in the fifth floor of Nil Ratan Sarkar (NRS) medical college and hospital. No casualties were reported.