Stephen Court residents allowed in to take out essentials

March 26th, 2010 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 26 (IANS) Residents of Stephen Court were allowed to visit their flats for half hour to take out essential belongings Friday, three days after a raging fire engulfed the heritage building on happening Park Street.
However, Kolkata Police and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) did not allow residents to go into the flats alone. They were accompanied by members of the rescue team to avoid any accident as a major portion of the building has been damaged by Tuesday afternoon’s fire that killed 25 people. About a dozen people are still missing.

An elderly resident could not get into his fifth floor flat, even with the help of rescue officials, because of the debris piled up outside his door.

However, a sixth floor resident managed to get in. “I went into my flat and got my essential belongings. Nothing has happened to my flat.”

Many residents said they wanted more time to access their homes.

“It will be very nice if we are allowed to access our flats for some more time for at least two-three days so that we can take out more belongings,” said one.

Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti said: “Our first priority is to clear the debris and find out dead bodies if there are any because 12 people are still missing. We have allowed the residents to take out their belongings but we will not allow anyone to stay in their flats.”

The fire in the heart of the city’s Park Street broke out Tuesday afternoon and rapidly spread in the residence-office block, trapping scores.

Six people died Tuesday after jumping from the upper floors in a desperate bid to save themselves. Eighteen charred bodies were found by Wednesday morning from the sixth floor. One more body was found Friday morning while clearing the debris.

The building, housing the iconic Flurys tea room, was built by an Armenian Stephen Arathoon in 1910.

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