| Firemen are assisted by local youths in dousing the flames that engulfed a godown storing chemicals on Canal West Road on Wednesday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury
A fire broke out on Canal West Road, in north Calcutta, on Wednesday afternoon, destroying a warehouse that stocked chemicals. Three fire-brigade workers were injured in the blaze. Altogether 15 fire-tenders were pressed into service, which took over three hours to douse the flames.
After preliminary investigations, officials said a short-circuit could have led to the blaze. But till late in the day, the nature of the chemicals was not disclosed. “Forensic experts have collected samples from the spot and details will be available within a few days,” said a fire brigade officer on Wednesday.
Sivaji Ghosh, deputy commissioner of police, headquarters, said the slum-dwellers noticed smoke coming out of the godown around 12.30 pm. They called the fire-brigade control room, which took some time to send the fire engines to the spot.
“Initially, local youths tried to douse the blaze with sand and water,” said Ghosh, adding: “Later, they assisted the fire brigade officials in putting out the fire. Work was hampered as all outlets of the godown were closed. Three fire-fighters received burn injuries when they tried to break open the shutters of the godown. Fortunately, no one was trapped inside.”
Slum-dwellers, meanwhile, were in a panic and evacuated their shanties, fearing that the blaze could spread.
A team from Narkeldanga police station rushed to the spot and alerted its counterparts in the neighbouring areas.
“Additional forces were sent to the spot from the Phoolbagan and Amherst Street police stations. The warehouse premises were cordoned off,” said Ghosh.
The injured fire-fighters were taken to hospital, where they were given first-aid. Later, their conditions were reported to be stable.
“We are looking for the owner of the godown. We will go through all the papers and should they not be in order, we will arrest him,” added Ghosh.