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Eight shops gutted in fire

Eight shops on Santragachhi Station Road were gutted after a fire broke out in a confectionery on Wednesday afternoon. Three fire tenders took as many hours to douse the flame.

No one was injured in the fire. “The cause of fire is yet to be known,” said Samir Choudhury, district fire officer, Howrah division.

Fire department officials suspect a leak in cooking gas at the confectionery triggered the blaze. The workers reportedly fled in panic as soon as the fire broke out and made it to safety seconds before a cooking gas cylinder exploded.

“We were sipping tea at a stall barely 10 metres from the confectionery when we heard a deafening sound and saw a fire engulf the confectionery,” recounted Kedar Ghosh, an employee of South Eastern Railway.

“I got fresh supplies worth Rs 25,000 yesterday. The shop was shut when fire broke out. The entire stock has been gutted,” said Sanjay Chakraborty, the owner of a soft drink shop.

The fire broke out around 4.30pm and the Howrah division fire brigade was alerted within minutes. The firemen reached the spot, 7km away, around 5.45pm. The district fire officer admitted that the fire brigade did not reach the spot in time but blamed the delay on the narrow road.