Flames still raging in Barabazar

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Kolkata, Jan 12 (UNI) More than 2,500 shops and at least six multi-storeyed bulidings were either gutted or badly damaged and property worth crores of rupees destroyed in a devastating fire that broke out at Barabazar in central Kolkata early today.

Director General of Fire Services Subhash Dutta said altogether 42 fire tenders had been pressed into service to douse the massive flames, still raging and engulfing more shops and buildings in the densely populated largest wholesale market of the city.

Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty, who was at the spot, said so far there was no report of any casualty.

''The first thing that our officers ensured was that there was no one trapped inside the buildings,'' he told newspersons.

However, people, residing in the adjoining buildings had been shifted to safer places, he said.

The fire first broke out in a multi-storeyed building on Jamunalal Bajaj Street in the 'Tripal Patti', the wholesale market for plastics and soon spread to Nandram market before engulfing more structures, including a 15-storeyed building.

The exact cause of the fire is yet to be known.

According to the DG, Fire service, the firemen found it difficult to fight the blaze without adequate source of water in the area.

Also there was an acute problem of space for the fire fighters working in the maze of alleys, he said.

Disaster management teams and RAF personnel had been deployed and the entire area was cordoned off.

UNI KDG PP SP MSJ KP1316

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