A fire broke out in a temporary tin shed on top of a four-storey commercial building near the Lenin Sarani-Moti Sil Street crossing on Sunday evening.
The ground floor of the building, a stone’s throw from Sacred Heart Church, houses a shop that sells cellphones and accessories while the upper floors are occupied by a budget guesthouse, police said.
Two fire tenders reached the spot after the fire and emergency services control room was alerted about the fire around 6pm. Four more fire engines were pressed into service later. A hydraulic ladder was also sent but could not be used because of a tree in front of the building and a web of overhead wires in the area.
Water being sprayed on the flames from an adjacent building
The fire was brought under control within an hour. No casualties or injuries were reported.
Dense black fumes could be seen from as far as Chandni Chowk and the Esplanade bus stop.The firefighters initially tried to douse the flames by spraying water from the road in front of the building but later stationed themselves on the roof of a building under construction.
Yousuf Khan, a resident of the area, said several guests were evacuated from the guesthouse after flames were spotted leaping out of the tin shed on the roof. “We raised the alarm and asked everybody to come down immediately,” Khan said.
Fire and emergency services minister Sujit Bose, who visited the spot, said the cause of the fire would be probed.
Asked if the structure was legal, Bose said he would ask the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to look into the matter. “Our men did not spot any firefighting equipment in the building. It is unclear how the fire started but it spread fast because of the presence of inflammable materials such as wood and plastic,” he said.
Corporation officials will inspect the building on Monday. “It is an old building and structures are often added to such buildings. We will check the records to find out whether the shed had been built with permission and following building rules,” an official said.