The fire-ravaged warehouse at Burrabazar. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Calcutta, Aug. 2: A blaze broke out this morning at a five-storey Burrabazar building that houses commercial and residential units, forcing a family of 12 to rush down the stairs and swivelling the spotlight on lack of fire-safety measures atmany establishments in the business hub.
The blaze, which started in a 2,000sqft Milton distribution centre around 6.30am, was brought under control by 8.15am by five fire tenders. By 9am, the flames had been doused.
Almost the entire stock of water bottles, casseroles, flask and boxes at the unit, owned by Jain Overseas, was destroyed, sources said.
The fire, however, did not spread to the other commercial or residential units of the building, Lakshmi Katra, that adjoins Bagree Market on Canning Street. The building, which houses over 200 shops, godowns, distribution centres and offices and around five residential units, is opposite the commercial hub Mehta Building and 50 metres from Brabourne Road.
Subodh Chhajer, the director of Jain Overseas, said: “I got to know about the fire around 7am. I live in Kankurgachhi and reached Burrabazar within 20 minutes. The warehouse has been gutted. Almost the entire stock has been destroyed.”
“Six computers and all documents have also been destroyed,” he added.
A fire brigade official said the lack of a reservoir hobbled them. “The corridors are also cramped and full of merchandise. There are no fire alarms either.”
Shop owners in the building said new electrical wiring had been installed recently.
Pravina Rathod, who lives with her family on the third floor, above the warehouse that caught fire, said: “My daughter smelt something burning around 6.30am and alerted us. We came out of our apartment, looked downstairs and saw flames coming out from the warehouse,” the 58-year-old said.
“Within minutes, all our rooms and the third-floor corridor were filled with smoke. We locked our doors and rushed downstairs,” she said.
Firefighters entered the warehouse by breaking open the door. They also broke the windowpanes to release the trapped smoke.