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Firefighters douse flames after 15-hour long battle

Following the massive fire in a three-storeyed building in Burrabazar, it took 15 hours for 30 fire tenders to douse the flames. The residents of the area are still panic stricken as the dilapidated 150-year-old building might collapse owing to the damages caused by the fire.

On Tuesday afternoon, the state fire and emergency department confirmed that the fire was completely extinguished.

"The fire spread faster because of the presence of wooden separations inside the rooms. These were in the possession of local businessmen who used it for storing goods. A total of 40 businessmen had storage spots in the building. Also, seven families used to live in the first and second floor," said sources.

Although an electric short circuit was considered to be the prime reason behind the fire, the forensic experts have not ruled out the possibility of a gas cylinder explosion.

At midnight, the situation took a serious turn when the wooden staircase got completely damaged. "This was a challenging moment for the firefighters. Officers of the disaster management group were successful in rescuing the residents," added the sources.

It took 15 hours for the firefighters to douse the flames because the fire had grown more treacherous due to the presence of combustible materials on the ground floor. A portion of the adjacent road was blocked which in turn led to traffic congestion. CM Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with the state fire minister and Mayor Sovan Chatterjee in the state secretariat over the incident. Chatterjee said, "We have shared what we have witnessed at Burrabazar with the Chief Minister. We told her that it was an onerous task to carry out firefighting services in such a congested area. She has directed us to take steps to ensure that the firefighters are able to reach to places requiring immediate attention without facing difficulties."

He also stated that the state fire and emergency services department officers had a difficult time negotiating the narrow lanes. "I failed to reach the building even though I was standing only 50 meters away," Chatterjee added.

Stating that the building was in a dilapidated state, Mayor said, "KMC will help the owner to renovate the building. No one will be evicted and if needed they will be rehabilitated."
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