Calcutta, Feb. 27 (PTI): Fire engulfed a market in an ageing godown-cum-office complex in the Sealdah area here early Wednesday, leaving 18 people dead and several others injured.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Javed Shamim said the dead included a woman. Rescuers had pulled out 15 people from the inferno.
The fire was detected at 3.50am when the victims were fast asleep, police said.
The injured were rushed to the state-run NRS and Medical College hospitals.
Fire Services Minister Javed Khan told PTI that fireman had extracted six persons in an unconscious state, and were trying to find out if others were trapped inside.
He said 26 fire tenders fought the blaze for over three hours to bring the situation under control.
Firemen and police personnel cordoned off the area to facilitate fire fighting operations.
The cause of the fire and the extent of damage were under investigation, police said.
Khan, who rushed to the spot and personally supervised fire fighting operations, said there was no fire safety arrangement in the market and blamed the market authorities for the lapse.
“We will take action against the market authorities for not having any fire safety arrangement”, the minister said.
To a question, he said the entire building housing the market was unauthorised and illegal and had come up during the Left Front regime.