A massive fire broke out at central Kolkata’s wholesale hub Bagri Market in the wee hours of Sunday. At least 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to contain the fire as it began to spread across the congested market in Canning Street.
No casualty has been reported yet, but hundreds of shops in the area have been gutted. One firefighter was injured while trying to arrest the fire and was admitted to Calcutta Medical College.
Authorities point to lack of proper firefighting equipment that helped the blaze to spread. The building housed over 400 shops including that of medicines, chemicals and plastic goods. The market building located at 71 canning street is part of Burrabazar wholesale hub. The building, built in 1955, was initially three-storeyed and later two more floors were added it. Read in Bangla
According to police, the fire reportedly started at 2.30 am on the first floor of the five-storied building and quickly spread on the floors ahead. The entire area has been covered with thick black smoke. Officials of the fire department, Disaster Management Group and Civil Defence have been pressed in to contain the situation.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there has been no reports of any casualty and the fire will be brought under control soon. “Nobody is trapped in the building. Also, no report of any casualty or injury has reached us. Steps are being taken. Fire will be controlled soon,” she said.
Mayor and state fire minister Sovan Chatterjee and commissioner of Kolkata Police Rajeev Kumar reached the spot. “The area is congested and firefighters have been facing a lot of trouble trying to bring it under control. They are risking their lives trying to put out the fire,” Chatterjee said.
“It seems that they (traders) did not take lessons from previous fire incidents in the area. We have been telling them to put proper fire fighting system, but was not heeded to,” said Sudip Bandopadhyay, Lok Sabha MP who visited the spot.
Firefighters used gas cutters to cut through the shutters and grilles to get access from outside. Intermittent sounds of explosions were heard since the fire broke out. Owing to the heat generated, cracks appeared on the walls of the market.
Although security guards along with their families lived on the top floor of the building, there has been no casualty reported so far and the extent of loss of property was yet to be ascertained. Firefighters were trying hard to prevent the fire to spread on to the adjoining residential buildings. They tried to spray water into the market from the building opposite to the market.
Shop owners were seen standing outside the building while firefighters tried to put it out. Ahead of Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengal, shop owners had stacked goods and losses are anticipated to run up to crores.
Till the last report came firefighters are still trying to douse the fire in the building which continues to rage even after 12 hours.