10 killed in garments shop fire

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Kolkata, May 16 (UNI) At least ten people were killed, including a woman, and 27 injured when a devastating fire broke out at a readymade garments shop on the Sodepur Station Road in North 24 Parganas district near here today.

Reports suggested that sparks from a gas cutter on the first storey of the building trigerred the blaze, which spread rapidly throughout the entire three-storey shop.

''Six people died at the Panihati State General Hospital, while four succumbed at the Balaram State General Hospital,'' Belghoria Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ashok Ray told reporters.

Most of the victims died of asphyxiation because of intense smoke inside the building, he said adding that the toll is likely to rise.

The injured included a woman and a fire fighter.

Barrackpore Additional Superintendent of Police Praveen Tripathi said the injured were admitted to several nearby local hospitals.

Some had also been shifted to hospitals in the city.

'' We are investigating into the causes of fire,'' he stated.

He said seven fire tenders managed to bring the blaze under control. But the building was badly damaged.

Traffic on the arterial Barrackpore Trunk Road was suspended for sometime. Tension prevailed in the area.

Barrackpore Sub-Divisional Officer Jyotishman Chatterjee have rushed to the spot to conduct the rescue operations.

Meanwhile, local MLA Gopal Bhattacharya, who toured the area, said the owners of the 20-year-old shop Jiban Saha and Narayan Saha had been warned not to keep the shop open while the construction work was in progress, but they did not pay heed to it.

Local people alleged that the shop lacked proper fire-fighting equipment and safety measures were also being flouted.

UNI XC DPM KK KLC1624

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