West Bengal: Barabazar fire grows worse

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Kolkata, Jan 13: The devastating fire that broke out in Barabazar, the city's business hub, continued to rage for more than 36 hours today as the blaze started afresh late last night burning down more than 4,000 shops and eight multi-storeyed buildings.

Even after the fire was controlled, it resurfaced from the back portion of Nandaram market complex and leapt to engulf the tenth, 12th and 13th floors, which was beyond the reach of water canons. Handicapped by inadequate source of water, about 50 fire engines, including those procured from the army and Indian Air Force, were working round-the-clock as the blaze was approaching the generator room of the market complex fuelling the fear of a greater disaster.

Director General (Fire Services) Subhash Dutta said four buildings, gutted by the fire, had already broken down while a major portion of Nandaram market today collapsed.

''The matter of concern is that the blaze has started approaching the generator room of the building, which has a stock of not less than 250 litres of diesel blaze,'' he said.

Six Army men led by a Major from Panagar ammunition depot have also arrived with Carbon Dioxide and foam to help the fire fighters in extinguishing the flames.

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

While the exact cause of the fire is yet to be known, some claim it as a sabotage.

Property worth few hundred crores is feared to be destroyed without any reports of casualty in this disaster.

Barabazar, India's largest and oldest wholesale trade market, has witnessed at leat five major fires between 2001 and 2005.


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