Fire at Nathmulls Tea store, 1 dead
Darjeeling: A fire broke out at a tea store in the heart of Darjeeling town late on Friday night. An unidentified person was charred to death in the fire.
The incident occurred at around 11:40 pm on Friday. "I was going home from my hotel when I saw smoke billowing out from under the shutters of Nathmulls Tea. I immediately called up the police, fire brigade and the owners," stated Biswajit Saha, a hotelier. The store is located on Ladenla Road in the commercial hub of the town. Two fire engines arrived. Commercial water tankers were also pressed into service.
At around 4 am, the fire was brought under control. In the wee hours of the morning, a charred dead body of a man was recovered from under the debris from the shed which is believed to be the place from where the fire broke out. "We have not yet ascertained the exact cause. However, we feel that the fire broke out from a shed in the floor below the store. They used to dump empty tea chests and other discarded items there," stated Bharat Lama Sherpa, Fire Officer. The firefighters were present from around 12.10 am to 5 am on Saturday.
The police later recovered the body. "The body is unidentified. Prima facie, the man was a vagabond and used to spend the nights in this shed. There was no electricity in the shed, nor were there windows. The victim could have been inebriated and could be smoking inside the shed. The fire started from here. We are investigating," stated T S Nath, Inspector-in-Charge, Darjeeling Sadar police station.
The tea store has been damaged. "We lost a minimum of 2,000 kg of tea. It was mostly burnt. The remaining tea got spoilt by the water used for extinguishing the fire. It will take some time to restart the store," stated Girish Sarda, one of the owners of the iconic store.