Three persons were killed while many others reportedly injured after a fire broke out at an illegal oil godown on 107 Christopher road at Tangra on Thursday noon triggering tension in the locality.
The owner of the go-down, Ram Avtar Agarwal and his younger brother Pavan Kumar Agarwal were among the victims who died after being charred inside the godown. The fire was further intensified following the blast of gas cylinders stocked at the warehouse where the godown is situated.
The local residents have alleged that the deceased businessman was running the oil godown illegally for nearly 10 years. Despite their repeated pleas to stop the illegal business, no action was taken by the police against the godown owner. They also said that there was a grocery shop situated on the same plot behind which the illegal business dealings in oil used to operate. Various oils were illegally sold from the shop. Some of the employees who were trapped inside the godown were later rescued by the police. Many of them suffered serious injuries on various parts of the bodies.
Police suspect that the death toll might go up as some persons injured in the incident had received critical injuries and were taken to various hospitals for treatment. According to the preliminary investigation, police and fire brigade suspect that there was no proper fire fighting measures installed in the oil godown. Police were also investigating if the owners had proper licenses to run such a shop.
Panic gripped the area as it is densely populated. As soon as the incident happened, the local residents started the rescue operation but failed to take out the victims as the room was filled with thick smoke and some cooking gas cylinders that remained stored in the godown were going off. After being informed, the seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
Police said that the fire broke out at the gas cylinder’s warehouse near Brindaban garden at the meeting point of Tangra and China Town. Seven fire tenders were immediately pressed into service to douse the flame. The local people spotted smoke billowing out of the oil godown and they soon heard the sound of bursting gas cylinders which were stored inside the room. The fire officials used foam to douse the flames and brought the situation under control. The disaster management team also reached the spot.
Local MLA Swarnakamal Saha and the Member and Mayor-in-council (Bustee) Swapan Samaddar visited the spot and supervised the rescue work. They praised the local people who took part in the rescue operation at the initiation level. They also said that fire engines rushed to the spot in minimum time after the fire had broken out.
According to the police, a mobile tower adjacent to the warehouse is completely gutted due to the fire. The incident had led to huge traffic in the area. All the roads from Tangra to Sealdah have been closed following the fire incident.
After starting an investigation, police have arrested one person in the connection so far. Fire department is yet to ascertain the exact cause of the fire and the extent of the damage.