Death toll rises to 24 in Kolkata's Park Street fire

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Kolkata, Mar 24 (ANI): The death toll from the fire that swept through the three floors of the multi-storied Stephen Court building on Park Street is now reported to be over 24, with several people still missing.

At least 20 people have been hospitalized and several others are reported to be in critical condition.

Over 17 burnt bodies have been recovered from the building.

"While six persons died either by jumping from the burning floors of the building, or sustaining burns during the day, 10 charred bodies were found late last night," said fire brigade sources.

"It is not possible to say whether they were male or female. They were charred beyond recognition," they added

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday slammed the disaster management of the West Bengal Government for failing to control the fire and directed a railway emergency team from Sealdah to assist people trapped inside the building.

"I spoke to the Defence Ministry for sending the army. The ministry has issued instructions to send the army," Banerjee told the media at the scene of fire on Tuesday, adding that the West Bengal Government should have sought the help of the army.

Banerjee said she did not want to make a political point, and had deliberately delayed her arrival at the site so that no one would accuse her of hampering rescue efforts.

"I was keeping an eye on matters and we waited for one-and-a half hours before coming here," she said.

West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee blamed the excessive traffic for the delay in rescue efforts, adding that the death toll could rise.

There was utter confusion on Tuesday as an attempt was being carried out to find out in which floor of the building did the fire broke out with panic gripping those trapped inside. (ANI)

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