Kolkata fire kills 19, Mamata visits spot
Kolkata, Feb 27 : At least 19 people, including a woman, were killed as fire broke out in a six-storey shopping complex in Kolkata's Sealdah area on Wednesday morning even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the spot and assured assistance to the victims and kins.
The Chief Minister, however, said 17 bodies were recovered from the building located in a congested area on Surya Sen Street.
Though the cause of the fire that broke out at Sealdah's Surya Sen market, is yet to be known, initial reports suggest majority of the people died due to suffocation while the it is being presumed that the fire started from a short circuit.
Some of the victims were however charred to death.
While six people were rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital, it is feared that several people were still trapped inside the building, said reports.
According to a local resident, smoke could be spotted since 2:30 AM. Besides 25 fire engines, Disaster Management Group has also reached the spot.
The building has only one exit gate and therefore is causing a lot of hindrance in the rescue operations.
"It is a sad and unfortunate incident. We will conduct a high level inquiry and take action," said Mamata Banerjee after visiting the spot.
The chief minister said Kolkata's areas being unplanned, many godowns were present in the residential areas and that has made the situation grave.
She said for decades everything has developed in an unplanned way and unfortunately several plastic godowns were present in the residential quarters.
She announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the dead and Rs 50,000/- for the injured.
She said an immediate survey would be done and she urged the people to not live in the same place where they run their plastic or similar business with inflammable materials.