Six killed, 600 homeless in West Bengal fire

October 22nd, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 22 (IANS) Six people, including five children, have been killed in a fire that destroyed at least 150 shanties at Shibpur in West Bengal’s Howrah district, police said Wednesday.”As per police records, six people, including five children and a pregnant woman, have been killed in the fire. And six people, including four children, have suffered burns and injuries in the fire so far. At least 150 huts have been destroyed, about 600 people rendered homeless,” Howrah Superintendent of Police Niraj K. Singh told reporters Wednesday.

The fire broke out at around 9 p.m. Tuesday on Foreshore Road in Shibpur, around 40 km from here, and was brought under control around midnight by seven fire tenders.

Residents of the area alleged that the fire was a “planned-accident” by some real estate promoters.

“Every now and then, two local promoters used to come and ask us to vacate the slum. A few days back, they even threatened us that we would be forced to leave the slum soon. We are sure they set fire to our houses Tuesday night,” said Amtul Bibi, one of the slum-dwellers.

However, officials of forensic department who inspected the area and collected samples Wednesday, said the fire was a result of an accident.

“We have inspected the area and collected samples and proofs related to the fire. As per preliminary report, we have not found any foul play. The fire seems to have spread from a cooking stove in one of the shanties,” said a senior forensic official.

According to district sources, Howrah Municipality Corporation is planning to rehabilitate those rendered homeless by the fire.

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