Fire at illegal market in India kills 19
Reports claim that an electrical fault started the blaze
At least 19 people have been killed after a fire caught hold of an illegal market in the Indian city of Kolkata. Almost before the ashes had cooled a political row broke out over who was responsible.
Reports said that an electrical fault started the blaze shortly before 4am at at the Surya Sen market, a five or six-storey complex that deals in plastics and paper. Most of those who died were said to be market porters who were sleeping in the premises.
Police said that while the flames were tackled reasonably quickly, the release of toxic fumes from the burning plastic hampered rescue efforts. At further 10 people suffered injuries in the incident and officials warned that the death toll could yet increase.
“At around 3.45am when I came out of my house after hearing those screams, I saw flames coming out of window panes of the building with people shouting from the windows,” Ranjit Hazra, a local resident, told the Press Trust of India.
The densely populated city of Kolkata has an unenviable reputation as the location of deadly fires. In December 2011, around 90 people died when flames took hold of the city’s AMRI hospital, located in the Dakuria neighbourhood. Hospital staff abandoned many of the patients as the fire spread.
In the aftermath of today’s fire, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, visited the site and said compensation of Rupees 200,000 (around £2,500) would be paid to the families of those who died. The government’s fire minister, Javed Khan, sought to blame the previous government, saying it had allowed unauthorised construction of markets such as Surya Sen, which is located in the Sealdah neighbourhood.
“We have filed hundreds of [police reports] on such unauthorised and illegal markets and godowns. There is no laxity on part of the government,” he said.
Ms Banerjee, who led her Trinamool Congress Party to power in 2011, ending 34 years of rule by the Communists, urged people to take greater care over issues of public safety. She also ordered the building’s owners to install fire prevention equipment within two months.
“They should be more careful. Mischief-makers also can cause damage,” she said. “Everything will be investigated to find out the cause of the fire.”
While the authorities said the Surya Sen market was illegal, local people claimed it was at least 25 years old and may have been there longer. They said there was only one entrance to the building, which made rescue efforts more difficult.
- 1 Rice Bucket Challenge: India's take on the Ice Bucket Challenge 'for Indian needs'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
Matt Damon uses toilet water in ice bucket challenge to stress sanitation issues in developing world
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Rubble Bucket Challenge: Ice Bucket Challenge adapted in solidarity with Gazans whose homes have been destroyed in conflict
Car tax disc changes: Make sure you know the new rules from 1 October or risk £1,000 fine
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
- < Previous
- Next >
TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)
£65000 - £75000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...
£120 - £180 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are looki...
£70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: School Receptionist - Part ...