A massive fire broke out in Bagree market in Kolkata at around 3 am on Sunday. The multi-storey building which houses more than 2,000 shops was still on fire at the time of filing this report. The flames had been raging for the past few hours.
Thirty fire engines were called in to douse the flames in the congested area.
Residents of the area said the fire broke out on the ground floor of the building on Canning Street and quickly spread to other floors due to stocks of inflammable material. Locals complained that fire officials were not cooperating at first.
One of the witnesses, Adnan said, “Only two fire engines showed up earlier and gave up saying they do not have adequate provisions. We had been calling the fire station multiple times but no one responded.”
Thirty fire engines were called in to douse the flames.
Property worth crores of rupees was destroyed in the flames. Bagree market mostly comprises of medicine, perfume and plastic shops.
To assess the area, Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee visited the area early in the morning. “The fire broke out at 2.45 am. We are trying our best to douse the fire but it is tough because of too many buildings in the area.”
Black smoke engulfed the area leaving people panicked. About 2,000 shops in the area were speculated to have been affected by the fire.
“Even after 12 hours, the fire has not been doused completely. We need to find out the source of this massive fire, estimate the losses and then figure out if it was possible to have prevented it,” said TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while leaving for her Europe trip, told reporters at the airport, “Nobody is trapped in the building. Also, no reports of any casualties or injuries have reached us.”
“It is a big mishap. We are trying to put out the fire. It is a big challenge. We have additional fire tenders. Locals and businessmen have been told several times to take precautionary measures but nothing has been done,” Bandyopadhyay said.
“We need to know whether it could have been stopped. I feel those who have business here are not interested in using the latest equipment. The administration has given guidelines and they will be made more stringent now,” he said.
The BJP claimed the fire was a result of the administration’s callous attitude towards businessmen.
BJP leader Ritesh Tiwari said, “We want to know why the administration has not taken proper steps till now.”
Traffic restrictions have been imposed in Rabindra Sarani; between MG Road, Poddar Court and Canning Street and between Brabourne Road and Rabindra Sarani. Canning Street near Burrabazar is one of the major trading hubs of the city.