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12 Hours On, Bagri Market Blaze in Kolkata Continues to Rage, Traders Flee Area

Burnt and destroyed cans of deodorant, plastic bottles, buckets, plastic toys, clothing materials, half-burnt mannequins were seen scattered all over the street in front of the market.

PTI

Updated:September 16, 2018, 5:08 PM IST
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12 Hours On, Bagri Market Blaze in Kolkata Continues to Rage, Traders Flee Area
Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in Kolkata's Bagree market on Sunday. (PTI)
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Kolkata: Thick black smoke engulfed Canning Street as fire fighters continued to battle a major blaze, raging for over 12 hours, at the multi-storey Bagri Market on Sunday.

No loss of life has been reported but some fire officials suffered injuries during an operation to douse the blaze, the fire department said.

Traders from adjacent buildings were seen fleeing amid fumes and explosion-like sounds from gas cylinder blasts with whatever commodities they could recover from their shops.

The major fire at the multi-storey market, around a kilometre away from the RBI office and the Writers' Building, gutted nearly 1,000 shops and business establishments — mainly cosmetics, toy and cloth shops. Thirty fire tenders have been pressed into service to contain the blaze that has been raging for over 12 hours.

Fire brigade personnel were seen cutting through grills and shutters to make way into the six-storey building, but the congestion in the area made the operation difficult.

"As the area is very crowded, we are finding it difficult to work. We are using ladders and gas cutters to cut through grills of gates and windows to enter the building," a senior fire department official said, adding that cracks have appeared in the building.

Burned and destroyed cans of deodorant, plastic bottles, buckets, plastic toys, clothing materials, half-burnt mannequins were seen scattered all over the street in front of the market.

Explosion-like sounds were also heard from the building, which the fire officials presumed were due to gas cylinder blasts.

Desperate shop owners, who tried to get inside the building, were stopped by fire fighters and police officers. "We have items worth several lakhs of rupees in the building. The items were recently bought in view of the (Durga) Puja season. All have been destroyed. We are finished... I had invested everything for this shop," Satish Agarwal, owner of a cosmetics shop, said.

Locals were also seen lending a hand to the fire department officials to douse the fire, which showed no signs of cooling down even after 12 hours.

City police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who visited the site with other senior police officers, said the adjoining buildings were evacuated fearing the fire may spread to nearby areas.

The building, divided into several blocks, has shops and godowns on the first three floors, offices on the third and fourth floors and residential accommodations for security guards and their families on the top floor.

"The blaze has taken a massive form. Our officers are working inside and we are giving our best to control the situation," a senior officer of the fire department said.

Apart from the fire department officials, mayor and fire services minister Sovon Chattopadhyay, Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Badopadhyay and local councilor Smita Bakshi, visited the site in the morning to take stock of the situation.
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