A fire destroyed “illegal” eateries and shops and the office of a political party opposite the Administrative Training Institute in Salt Lake’s FD Block on Thursday morning.
An official of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation said the gutted shops were made of tin, bamboo and plastic sheets and did not have any licence.
Thursday’s incident highlighted once again how temporary stalls and structures made of flammable materials posed a fire safety risk.
The structures that were gutted included a temporary warehouse of a decorator where bamboo poles, coir mats and carpets had been stored.
A senior fire official said it took 12 fire engines more than 40 minutes to douse the flames.
“The entire area was a tinderbox as extremely flammable materials like bamboo and plastic sheets had been used to build the stalls. Moreover, inflammable materials like coir mats, bamboo poles and carpets had been stored in the makeshift warehouse. The fire spread rapidly through the stalls after an oxygen cylinder kept inside the party office exploded,” the fire official said.
Bhola Nath Pyke, a contractual employee of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation’s solid waste management department, was among the first responders. He suffered injuries on his back and face in the cylinder explosion.
“Pyke has been admitted to a private hospital off EM Bypass,” a senior official of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation said.
The structures, which came up several years ago, included eateries, tea stalls and fish and meat shops, residents of the locality said.
Many makeshift eateries, which use LPG cylinders or kerosene stoves to cook, have come up in all blocks of Salt Lake. Residents said most of them do not have any fire-fighting system.
On Thursday morning, residents of FD Block spotted smoke and flames rising out of the structures. “Within minutes we heard a loud noise and the flames leapt up even higher. We immediately alerted the fire department,” an FD block resident said.
State fire and emergency services minister Sujit Bose, who is also the Bidhannagar MLA, visited the spot.
Bidhannagar police commissioner Gaurav Sharma said an investigation was under way.