Srinagar, Oct 27: The Army today claimed to have saved at least 140 people from being charred to death in a devastating fire that destroyed about 50 structures at a north Kashmir village yesterday.
In a statement here, a defence spokesman said a major erupted at Sudhi Kilshai village in Gurez sector of Bandipora district yesterday at around 0500 hrs.
Seeing the raging fire, the Army and the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel deployed near the village rushed to save the sleeping and shocked locals, he added.
The spokesman said the soldiers rushed into the houses engulfed by fire to bring out the sleeping children and free the cattle locked in sheds. The troops managed to control the fire, but with great difficulty, he added.
''The timely and prompt action by the solders saved the village and 140 civilians from complete destruction,'' the spokesman said.
A total of 29 houses and 25 cowsheds were gutted in the fire. No casualty was reported in the blaze.
The Army till had immediately rushed in blankets, ration, tents and medical teams to the village and established a temporary camp and cook house to shelter and feed the affected families, he added.
While the immediate cause of the blaze was yet to be ascertained, the villagers attributed the fire to the late festivities after a marriage ceremony, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir government has dispatched relief material, including blankets, woolen clothes and quilts, in State Road Transport Corporation trucks to Gurez.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mehboob Iqbal directed Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, Sheikh Mushtaq to personally visit Gurez and supervise the relief and rehabilitation measures.