Other States

Nine dead in fire at Eastern Railway headquarters in Kolkata

Fire breaks out at the 12th floor of a multi-storeyed building in Kolkata, on March 8, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The death toll in a fire that broke out Eastern Railway headquarters in Kolkata on Monday evening rose to nine on Tuesday morning. The blaze broke out on the 13th floor of the 14-storey building located on Strand Road.

Seven people, including four firefighters, were found dead late on Monday evening while two persons had gone missing.  Two more bodies were recorded in the early hours of Tuesday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra had reached the spot late on Monday evening and took stock of the rescue operations. She also visited the State-run SSKM Hospital where the bodies were taken after midnight.

“It’s a very sad incident. Seven bodies have been found. The accident occurred because they were going to the 13th floor using the lift,” Ms. Banerjee has said on Monday. She had informed that two persons were missing.

The deceased included four fire fighters who were identified as Girish Dey, Gaurav Bej, Aniruddha Jana and Biman Purakait, as well as Assistant Sub- Inspector of Kolkata Police’s Hare Police station Amit Bhawal. Three railway officials including Deputy Chief Commercial Manager (DCM) of Eastern Railway Partha Pratim Mondal, Sanjay Sahani security officer of DCM and Utpal Acharya, a railway employee was among those who died in the fire. One body is yet to be identified.

The Chief Minister announced a compensation of ₹10 lakh for the kin of each deceased and a job to one member of the family. Ms. Banerjee raised questions on the role of Railways in the incident and added that the Railways are yet to make the map of the building available to the State government. She said that it was an old building and not much effort on the part of Railways was visible after the fire.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that “all possible assistance has been provided by the Railways to the State government” during this unfortunate fire accident. “A high-level inquiry consisting of four pincipal heads of Railway departments has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Mr. Goyal said on social media.

While the fire was brought under control in a few hours, causalities were reported when fire brigade and security personnel entered the building to rescue those trapped. While seven bodies were recovered from one lift, two other persons were found dead in another lift. According to reports, security personnel and firefighters took a lift to the 13th floor and could not escape the smoke and fire after stepping out of the lift.

“The fire occurred at 6.10 p.m. at New Koilaghat building and by 6.30 p.m. the fire brigade was present at the spot. The blaze is under control,” Kamal Devdas, chief public relations officer of Eastern Railway, said. He said that the ticketing system of Eastern Railway has been affected by the fire as the main server of Eastern Railway was housed in the affected building.

The incident brought back memories of devastating fires that the metropolis had witnessed in the past few years, including fire at Stephen Court on Park Street in March 2010 where about 43 people died, and fire at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria in December 2011 which claimed more than 90 lives.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:15:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/several-feared-dead-in-kolkata-blaze/article34022675.ece

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