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Fire in toy godown & thermocol factory

Darjeeling: Twin fires raged in Siliguri on Wednesday. While a toy godown caught fire in the residential area Hakimpara, a thermocol factory was gutted in Matigarah.

Around 9 am on Wednesday residents of Swamijinagar Sarani hearing a large explosive sound rushed out of their houses. They saw fire gushing out from a house. Dense smoke had engulfed the area.

In a state of panic residents of nearby houses and flats rushed out. The fire brigade and police were informed.

However, the house was razed to the ground. Hearing of the fire Tourism Minister Goutam Deb along with Councillors of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation also rushed to the spot. Three fire engines rushed to tend to the fire. It was learnt that the owner of the old house, Goutam Das had given the house on rent to a businessman Goutam Dutta.

Dutta was using the ground floor as a plastic toy godown. The owner Goutam Das's vehicle was also parked in the premises. The vehicle was damaged in the fire.

The three-storied house adjacent to the house that caught fire is also owned by Goutam Das. The ground floor of the house is used as a clothes godown by Ananda Kumar Gupta; the first a medicine godown of Mukta Medicals. The top floor of the house is the residence of the family of the owner's sister. The flames from the inferno also reached this building. Though the godowns were vacated (clothes and medicines) the building was damaged. "The godowns contained highly inflammable substances," said one Amit Das, a local resident.

The fire department has threatened necessary action against the owners. "We have come to know that the floors had been rented out illegally to be used as godown spaces in this residential area. We will investigate and take necessary action. If the fire would have broken out at night damages would have been greater" stated Asish Putatunda, Divisional Fire Officer, Siliguri.

Tourism Minister Gautam Deb questioned why such godowns were allowed to mushroom in such densely populated residential areas.

"What is the Siliguri Municipal Corporation doing? The Mayor Asok Bhattacharya is busy with his international tours to even look into such issues. We demand his resignation immediately," retorted Ranjan Sarkar, President, TMC Darjeeling District.

The fire brigade used foam to bring the fire under control. "Timely intervention of the fire brigade helped control the fire and stopped it from spreading in this densely populated area," remarked Minister Deb.

" We have initiated an investigation. All necessary action will be taken," stated Ram Bhajan Mahato, Deputy Mayor, Siliguri Municipal Corporation.

Meanwhile, a 20 year old thermocol factory was burnt to the ground at Baniyakhari, Matigarah.

The main factory measuring 6000 square feet was destroyed along with machinery. 4 fire engines battled the fire.

"If cause of the fire could be from a short circuit. Damages are to the tune of one and a half crore rupees" claimed Gobindram Agarwal.

Police are investigating both the fires.

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