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Kolkata fire guts 150 shops, kills 2

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

A massive fire at Gorabazar in Dum Dum Cantonment area of North 24-Parganas on Tuesday gutted around 150 shops inside the market while two persons are reportedly dead from suffocation. A nationalised bank adjacent to the spot was also ravaged by the fire.

The Gorabazar market, within the limits of Dum Dum police station, which had stocks of material for the Saraswati Puja was completely gutted on Tuesday in a devastating fire around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Around 22 fire tenders reached the spot to take control of the situation and douse the flames that were spreading rapidly to places surrounding the spot.

It took about nine hours to douse the flames. A total of around 150 shops were completely destroyed along with few warehouses that stored raw materials. Two persons died inside their shop reportedly of suffocation whose charred bodies have been recovered. A nationalised bank adjacent to the market was devastated following an explosion in one of its air-conditioners after coming in contact with the flames.

No one was reportedly trapped while the police continue its search operation. Being a congested area, it became difficult for the fire tenders to enter the spot due to which several fire pockets remained active for a long time. According to one fire official, a short circuit was the probable cause of the fire. However, the exact cause is yet to be ascertained.

The shopkeepers and traders of the market have raised allegations against the market union claiming lack of fire-fighting facilities and necessary arrangements needed to combat such situations. Dum Dum Municipality chairman Harinder Singh who reached the spot after being intimated about the incident reportedly claimed that the fire caught in a shop selling plastic materials.

The engineers from Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) reached the spot at 2:20 a.m. The fire by then had already spread to three buildings.