A fire at a multi-storeyed building on Madan Street in the congested Chandni Chowk area on Saturday morning prompted police to evacuate the residents to facilitate fire fighting and cordon off the area.
It took two hours for the firefighters and a team from the Kolkata police’s disaster management group to bring the fire under control.
The police said no one was injured despite the area being a congested market, which would usually teem with several thousands turning up for Diwali shopping.
Eyewitnesses said the fire was spotted around 10.30am with thick black fumes emanating from the first floor of the building, which has several shops selling mobile phones, electronic items and other gadgets on the ground floor in the Chandni Chowk market. Some of the residents called for fire tenders while a few others informed the police who arrived shortly and cordoned off the area.
With a part of the building meant for residents and the rest for commercial activities, a police team began evacuating the residents from the partly dilapidated building.
Loudhailers were used to inform the residents to step out and the police control room at Lalbazar was asked to send additional personnel.
Within a short time thick black fumes billowing out of the first floor covered the
area and firefighters were forced to pull out oxygen cylinders and sport special masks before trying to reach the seat of fire.
“Initially, two fire tenders were sent but later it was ramped up to five tenders. Since most of the shops on the ground floor and those adjoining it were stacked with inflammable articles and the area was congested, we had to work fast to bring the fire under control,” said a senior divisional officer of the fire and emergency services department. “It wasn’t clear why the fire broke out.”
A part of the Chandni Chowk market remained shut till well past noon with fire fighting work continuing from all sides apart from spraying of water from outside to reduce the building’s temperature, senior officials said.
Sometime past 1pm, several shops lifted their shop shutters as reports reached that the fire had been brought under control.
“We have sealed the sites and forensic experts have been asked to examine the seat of fire on Saturday,” said a senior police officer.