Toll in garments shop fire rises to 13

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Barrackpore, May 17 (UNI) The toll in yesterday's devastating fire at a readymade garments shop in Sodepur has increased to 13 as one more patient died at the R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, police said here today.

Altogether 13 people lost their lives so far, with another patient dying at the hospital last night owing to asphyxiation from the poisonous fumes emitted due to the blaze at the garments shop.

At least 35 others, including the customers, shop workers, one of the owners and three fire service personnel, fell seriously ill due to suffocation and inhalation of smoke and poisonous gases as the huge central air conditioning system in the shop had caught fire.

Reports said the fire triggered when sparks from an electric welding machine fell on the carpet laid wooden staircase in the first storey of the building. The blaze rapidly engulfed the entire three-storey shop.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Fire Service lodged an FIR with the Khardah police station against the owners of the Readymade Centre Pvt Ltd, under the West Bengal Fire Service Act, Fire Brigade sources said.

The Divisional Officer of the Fire Brigade also visited the Balaram State General Hospital at Khardah where two of the ill fire service personnel, along with other victims, were admitted.

Both the fire brigade personnel were recovering, the sources said.

Police launched search operations to nab one of the owners of the shop Jiban Saha, who is absconding since yesterday, while his elder brother Narayan Saha and his son Rana were admitted to one of the hospitals.

UNI XC DPM SW BST1328

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