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Major fire breaks out in Bagbazar area, 25 tenders pressed into service

Major fire breaks out in Bagbazar area, 25 tenders pressed into service

Kolkata: Around four persons, including two firefighters, were injured and at least 80 shanties gutted in a major fire that broke out in a slum in North Kolkata's Bagbazar area on Wednesday evening.

As many as 25 fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames that threatened to spread to adjacent high-rise buildings, including Udbodhan Karjaloy of Ramakrishna Mission. The buildings were promptly evacuated.

Around 6.50 pm, local residents saw flames in one of the shanties adjacent to Bagbazar Women's College. The fire spread to the bamboo structures of the adjacent shanties before they could take any step to douse the same. However, the exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.

Residents of the shanties somehow managed to move out of their houses leaving behind all their valuables.

Though timely intervention by locals and firefighters checked the flames from engulfing the adjacent buildings, all the shanties were reduced to ashes within just a few minutes with repeated blasts of cooking gas cylinders being heard, said resident Babua Shaw.

Firefighters faced difficulties in dousing the flames due to heavy gush of winds from River Hooghly. The fire fighting continued till late night. Fire personnel were found spraying water from terraces of the adjacent high-rises.

Chairman, Board of Administrators of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Firhad Hakim said arrangements have been made to shift the residents of the shanties to four community halls and provide food and clothes. He also informed that from Thursday, reconstruction of the huts will begin. "We have identified four community halls for the homeless. They will be given essentials along with food and water. We will start rebuilding the houses from Thursday."

Local MP Sudip Banerjee and MLA Sashi Panja rushed to the spot and interacted with the locals and assured all necessary support.

DG (Fire) Jagmohan said: "The situation has been brought under control. Now, there is nothing to panic. Three to four persons were injured, including some of our firefighters. The adjacent Udbodhan Karjaloy remains unaffected."

A huge contingent of police was posted as some people agitated suspecting foul play.

The areas was cordoned off and traffic movement along C R Avenue from Girish Park Crossing was restricted. Vehicles were diverted along Vivekananda Road for north-bound movement. C R Avenue-bound vehicles coming from Chitpore were diverted through Galiff Street.

In a separate incident, a major fire broke out at a battery storage warehouse in Burtolla area on Wednesday afternoon. Around 12:30 pm on Wednesday, local residents saw smoke coming out from the first floor of three storeyed building at 153C, APC Road. Eight fire tenders were pressed into action and the flames were brought under control by 3:10 pm.

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