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Oil godown goes up in flames

Jamshedpur, May 29: Residents of the densely populated Laxminagar, adjacent to Telco Colony, had a close shave today as fire broke out in an unauthorised three-storeyed mobil godown here.

The fire quickly engulfed a portion of the building situated in Road No. 2 in Laxminagar at 1pm.

Fearing that the drums containing mobil and other inflammable material may wreak havoc, the residents fled their homes to a safer place.

As thick smoke started billowing out of the godown from the ground floor, panic gripped the residents of the building. While most escaped using a wooden ladder fixed outside, others jumped down from the first floor.

Naga Sahu (24), one of the youths who had broken his left leg while jumping from the building, was identified as the nephew of the godown’s owner Bharat Sahu.

Naga was rushed to a nearby nursing home while Bharat, also the owner of the building, fled the scene. Sources said losses could amount to about Rs 6 lakh.

The fire was brought under control after six fire tenders from Tata Motors and Jharkhand Fire Service Station reached the spot within half an hour.

As the fire-fighting evoked no response initially, foam tenders had to be pressed into operation and the fire was brought under control after almost an hour.

A police team, led by the officer in charge of Telco police station, Pradeep Choudhary, also reached the spot and helped douse the fire with the help of residents.

Raising their voice of protest against Sahu, who had been storing drums containing inflammable material in a densely populated area for many years, residents alleged that the police knew about the illegal business.

Resident Guru Govind Singh Azad, who sustained minor injuries in the rescue operation, said that they did not complain as it would have created problems in the neighbourhood.

“But we will not sit silent now. We will put pressure on the police and the district administration to stop the hazardous business,” said Azad.

Several others, too, demanded that the district administration take strong action against those responsible for running the illegal trade.

Parliamentarian Suman Mahto rushed to the spot. She first visited the spot and listened to the complaints of the residents and then summoned Choudhary to ask him how such a dangerous business was carried on without the knowledge of the police.

Choudhary, however, blamed the local residents for keeping mum.

“It was the responsibility of the local people to inform the police if any hazardous business is being operated from their locality,” he said, adding that he would register a case against Sahu to arrest him soon.

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