Kolkata

Massive fire destroys heart of Kolkata’s Bagree market

Smoke billows out of the Bagree market during a major fire, at Burrabazar in Kolkata on September 16, 2018.

Smoke billows out of the Bagree market during a major fire, at Burrabazar in Kolkata on September 16, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The fire broke out at a building housing shops in the market at around 2.30 am

A massive fire engulfed Bagree Market in central Kolkata on Sunday. Till late evening, more than 25 fire engines are engaged in dousing the fire but it continues to raze the interior section of the market, which is part of Burra Bazar, eastern India’s largest wholesale trading hub, 12 hours after the 150-year-old market caught fire.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “It was an accident and nobody can control it.” There is no casualty, she added.

No one was injured, but some fire fighting personnel suffered minor injuries, Fire Brigade officials said. “Fire fighting equipment and systems in the building were inadequate. They did not take steps despite repeated warnings,” said Jag Mohan, Director General, Fire and Emergency Services.

Locals said that there were more than 500 shops, mostly selling clothes, toys, bangles and cosmetics, which were gutted within the first 4-5 hours after the fire broke out in the early hours. “There was a huge noise soon after the fire started. We think that gas cylinders exploded, which aggravated the blaze,” said Tinu Haldar, owner of a shop in a nearby building.

Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in Bagree market at Burrabazar in Kolkata on September 16, 2018.

Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in Bagree market at Burrabazar in Kolkata on September 16, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

In the initial minutes after the fire broke out, some of the shop owners residing nearby managed to retrieve some of their goods and chattels. “But that is nothing. Nearly everything is destroyed,” said Hari Prakash, a shop owner.

The walls at the rear of the building subsided in parts. Burnt clothes, toys, cosmetics, paper and mannequins could be seen scattered all over the site. Fire Brigade personnel were seen cutting through grills and shutters to make their way into the six-storey building, but congestion in the area made the operation difficult.

“As the area is very crowded, we are finding it difficult to work. We are using ladders and gas cutters to cut through grills of gates and windows to enter the building,” a senior Fire Department official said, adding that cracks have appeared in the building.

City Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who visited the site with other senior police officers, said the adjoining buildings were evacuated over fears that the fire may spread to nearby areas.

(With Agency inputs.)

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:01:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/fire-breaks-out-in-kolkatas-bagree-market-no-casualty/article24959874.ece

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