Leather factory fire kills 9, leaves 12 injured
Kolkata, Nov 22: At least nine people were killed and 12 critically injured in a devastating fire that broke out at an illegal leather factory at Topsia in the Eastern fringes of the metro late last night.
According to official sources the fire broke out at around 0230 hours in the night and quickly engulfed the factory that was on the second floor of the building.
To make matters worse, in the chaos that resulted, the keys to the only exit was lost.
It was only after the fire brigade arrived at around 0400 hours that the door was pulled down and the rest rescued.
Official sources said that nine people had died, that included women working in the factory, and 12 were battling for life at National Medical College Hospital with 90 per cent burn injuries.
Local MLA Jawed Khan rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue operation. He said he will demand a compensation of Rs one lakh for those killed and free treatment of those injured.
Unofficial sources put the toll to 10. But the toll is sure to rise as about 40 peopel were working in the factory many of whom were seriously injured.
Fire Brigade sources said the fire could have been triggered either by a short circuit or due to careless smoking.
Mayor Bikash Bhattacharya visited the spot in the morning and after inquiring into the incident also went tro see the injured at the hospital.
He said, "It was an illegal factory and I will sit with local MLA Mr Khan to discuss about such establishments without proper fire perevention facilities."
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee ordered an administrative inquiry into the incident. ''Most shops and houses located in the area were illegal. The government is likely to take steps,'' he told reporters. He denied frequent occurrence of such incident and said the area was congested so the fire spread rapidly.