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Two killed, dozen shops gutted in major fire at Gorabazar market

KOLKATA: Two persons were killed and a few others injured in a major fire that broke out at Gorabazar market in Dum Dum on late Sunday night.
A nationalised bank situated on the first floor of an adjacent building was also gutted in the devastating fire that soon spread to the entire market place. According to fire officials, more than 400 shops situated inside the market were completely damaged.
As many as 22 fire tenders were pressed into action to douse the flames. The fire broke out at around 1.30 am on Sunday night and the situation was brought under control at around 11 am on Monday.
The victims have been identified as Sunil Sahu (52) and Viki Singh. According to police, Sahu used to run a food joint inside the market while Singh used to work with him. Both were inside the shop when the fire broke out.
They stayed the night in the shop in order to open it early on Monday morning with a hope to welcome more customers on the occasion of Saraswati Puja. As the blaze engulfed the entire area, they suffocated to death. According to fire officials, the victims were sleeping inside the shop with the shutter down. The fire fighters and police recovered their bodies on Monday morning. They were declared brought dead after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Samir Chowdhury, a fire official who took part in the rescue operation alleged that there was no fire safety measures inside the market. The fire fighters faced difficulties as there were no proper water sources in the area. Two fire officials also sustained minor injuries while dousing the flames. Locals, however, alleged that the fire tenders reached the spot late despite repeated phone calls. Paromita Dey, a resident of the area, said they left the house in fear. She added that the entire area was filled with thick black smoke and the fire spread fast due to the strong breeze.
Biswajit Das, secretary of the bazaar committee, alleged that they informed the Dum Dum municipality urging the officials to put in place adequate fire safety mechanism in the market.
"Had there been a fire safety mechanism in the market, it would not have been difficult to douse the flames when more than 22 fire tenders were pressed into action," Das said. The municipal chairman of Dum Dum, Harinder Singh also rushed to the spot to supervise the incident.
According to preliminary investigation, the fire officials suspect that an electrical short circuit might have caused the fire. The exact cause of the fire and the extent of the damage are yet to be ascertained.
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