Officials clueless about Kolkata slum blaze cause

March 10th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, March 10 (IANS) As teary-eyed slum dwellers rummaged through the charred remains of their lost homes Monday, firemen said they were clueless about the cause of the devastating fire that gutted about 600 shanties in east Kolkata. “We still don’t know from where the fire actually generated. We are trying to find out now,” West Bengal Fire Services director Gopal Bhattacharya told IANS.

He said his department would undertake an investigation in the area to find out the source of the blaze Sunday night. A parallel police probe into the incident would be ordered.

The fire broke out at Panchanna village near VIP colony in east Kolkata Sunday evening. It spread quickly among the bamboo structures with thatched roofs, causing huge damage to a large number of people who were rendered homeless and lost all their belongings.

Altogether 15 fire tenders fought the blaze and brought it under control after nightlong efforts.

“The probable cause of the fire was a LPG cylinder explosion. There were almost 50 cylinders that exploded in the incident,” Bhattacharya said.

“The fire soon spread to the entire slum area as it housed highly inflammable household items like LPG cylinders, plastics and garments,” Bhattacharya said, adding that no casualties were reported.

Residents of the area and a number of social organisations have joined hands and set up temporary shelters for the victims. Food has also been served to over 2,000 homeless slum-dwellers.

Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who visited the blaze site Monday, blamed the fire on the “unauthorised storage of LPG cylinders in the shanties”.

Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee and legislator Javed Khan also visited the spot and demanded financial compensation and rehabilitation package for the victims.

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