7 dead, 2 more feared dead in massive Strand Road fire
Kolkata: At least seven people have died and two more are feared dead after a massive fire broke out at the Chief Signal and Telecommunications (Construction) department of Eastern Railway's New Koilaghat building located at 14, Strand Road on Monday evening. Rushing to the spot, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each and a government job to the next of kin of the dead. She also expressed her condolences to the family members of the deceased.
Banerjee slammed the Railways authority for not providing the building map despite repeated requests.
Around 6:15 pm on Monday, a massive fire broke out at the New Koilaghata building. Immediately, RPF personnel evacuated the property. The ticket counter located on the ground floor was closed. As many as 20 fire tenders were pressed into action and the fire was brought under control at around 10:30 pm.
State Fire minister Sujit Bose rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue and evacuation work.
Bose claimed four firefighters died while coming out of the lift on the 13th floor that was up in flames. Also, an RPF personnel and an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of Kolkata Police have been reported dead.
Another person whose body was found is yet to be identified. State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim and Commissioner of Kolkata Police Soumen Mitra also rushed to the spot.
The deceased include four firefighters, an ASI of Kolkata Police, a senior Railway officer and an RPF personnel. However, the body of the RPF personnel is yet to be identified.
After the news spread, family members reached the spot and the Chief Minister interacted with them.
Though firefighters tried hard to spray water using a 400-metre hydraulic ladder, the other portions of the floor were not reachable. Later, another ladder was brought from the Fire department headquarters but difficulties were faced by the firefighters while placing it inside the building premises.
Meanwhile, the online ticket booking system of the ER was affected as the server stopped working after the power service to the New Koilaghat building was disconnected. Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of the ER, Kamal Deo Das said efforts are on to resolve it at the earliest.