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Cloud on exam after Pandu fire

- Students lose textbooks as Mob attacks fire tender for delay

Nov. 20: College students Hirokjyoti Kakoti, Kinkor Deka and Bhupati Patowary are at a loss ahead of their examinations starting from December 4. The fire that broke out in Pandu last night reduced their books and course materials into ashes as the rented house where they were staying was devoured by a blaze.

The fire broke out around 11.30 last night and razed 15 houses, including bamboo huts and concrete structures, before fire tenders could reach the spot.

Those who lost their houses continued their futile search for their belongings this morning while the three students looked devastated as their books turned into ashes.

Kakoti and Patowary are from Hajo. Deka’s residence is in Changsari.

Kakoti, a first semester BSc student of Pandu College looked helpless in front of charred books, beds and clothes.

“We do not know how we will sit in the examinations which are less than two weeks away. We came rushing from our residences after we saw the fire in Pandu on TV news in the morning. We are really at a loss because it is not possible to gather the notes within this time and prepare for the examination,” Kakoti told this correspondent.

Deka, a BCom first semester student of West Guwahati Commerce College, too looked helpless as he searched for his books damaged in the fire.

Eyewitnesses said fire broke out at a nearby bamboo hut and spread fast.

“We were sleeping and when we woke up we had no time but to rush out of the house for life. All my belongings, jewellery items and cash were also burnt,” Raju Das who works in an almirah factory said. Raju, his mother Bulurani and four other members of his family lost six rooms and they have no shelter now.

As the fire spread, people came rushing out of their houses. Many among them however, turned angry and damaged a fire tender as it allegedly did not have enough water. “The Pandu fire station is about half-a-kilometre away, but a fire tender came nearly 30 minutes later. It could not control the blaze as it was half full. This angered the people,” said a local resident.

Though the actual cause of the fire was not known, many suspect that it had started either from an idol-making stall or from crackers as it was Chhath Puja.

Although no casualty was reported, some sustained minor injuries while trying to douse the fire. More firefighters were rushed from Panbazar and Chandmari fire stations and the blaze was brought under control by 2am.