Fire guts Kolkata markets, spreads to multi-storeys


Kolkata : A fire that broke out in a market in Kolkata’s crammed Burrabazar area in the wee hours Saturday spread across the area engulfing eight homes, including multi-storeyed buildings, leaving thousands homeless in the heart of the metropolis.

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Burrabazar, the famous Kolkata wholesale market area with congested clusters of unplanned and unauthorized constructions in the north-central zone, turned into an inferno of flammable plastics, polythene and garments, but no casualty was reported, police said.

“At least eight buildings are engulfed in fire and six have been affected very badly. A 15-storied house also caught fire,” a fire brigade official said.

“At least 42 fire engines are fighting to put out the blaze. The fire is yet to be brought under control. We are trying our best but there was initially a problem of availability of water,” Kolkata Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty said.

“We have no report of any casualty. No one was trapped inside. We ensured that. We had to ferry the water initially but now that problem was solved,” Chakraborty said.

The blaze left thousands of people homeless.

The fire broke out at around 1.30 a.m. at Tripalpatti, a wholesale market for plastic tarpaulin, on Jamunalal Bajaj Street, possibly from a short circuit.

Angry residents and traders said the fire brigade men came late.

While the buildings burned, the traders and residents wailed as they lost everything to the fire.

Local MP Sudhangshu Sil said efforts were on to bring fire-fighting equipment from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport to fight the blaze which covered the area in a thick umbrella of noxious smoke.

West Bengal Fire Minister Pratim Chatterjee said the traders who had stored flammable articles illegally in the congested area were responsible for the inferno.

“In an old city like Kolkata, we perhaps cannot prevent this but unlike in many such fire incidents in Mumbai, here we have been able to save human lives,” he said.