Fire destroys Kolkata leather factory


Kolkata : A huge fire Sunday gutted a leather factory in an industrial estate in south Kolkata, but no casualties were reported, officials said.

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A fire brigade official said it took nearly five hours to put out the blaze that broke out around 8 a.m. The cause of the fire was not known immediately.

“It seems the leather factory – XL Enterprises Ltd – in the Kasba Industrial Estate had no fire fighting arrangements. Three workers of the factory came out of the inferno by climbing down a pipe. No one was hurt,” the official said.

“The cause of the fire would be ascertained only after a forensic study,” he said.

A thick smoke engulfed the area after the fire broke out.

While the owner of the factory claimed the unit had fire-fighting arrangements, West Bengal Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee said there was none.

Chatterjee faced a hostile crowd when he reached the spot at 11.30 a.m.

“There was no fire-fighting arrangement. Is this the way to run an industrial unit?” Chatterjee asked.

People in the vicinity said the fire brigade’s efforts to douse the blaze were ham-handed while fire officials claimed there was difficulty in finding a water source nearby.

Kolkatans are yet to recover from the horrors of a fire that broke out in a 13-stoteyed building in the city’s biggest wholesale market in Burrabazar. The fire raged for nearly a week after the blaze broke out on Jan 12.

The Nandaram market fire of Burrabazar is said to be the worst fire in living memory in Kolkata.