A Maruti Suzuki service station with many cars on its premises went up in flames on Thursday afternoon.
While employees at One Auto Pvt Limited said 15 to 18 cars were damaged, the fire and emergency services minister, Sujit Bose, put the count at 30 after visiting the spot.
The extent of damage at the facility in Jagadipota, off EM Bypass, could not be ascertained till the evening.
The unit — located a little more than a kilometre from Metro Cash & Carry, towards the interior of Mukundapur — has a covered area where 18 cars can be examined and repaired simultaneously.
“The compound also has space for another 70 to 80 cars,” an official at the service centre said. At the front, on the ground floor, was the staff office.
“We have not been allowed inside the unit for safety reasons. The firefighters are still working inside,” an official told The Telegraph in the evening.
Witnesses said a portion of the 30,000sqft unit, where accessories and tools were kept, caught fire around 2pm. Soon after, the fire spread across the premises.
As news of the fire spread, several car owners rushed to the spot to check on their vehicles.
“I wanted to get my car repaired on Monday. But that did not happen. I brought the car today around 10.30am. At 3pm, I learned that there was a huge fire in the unit. See (he pointed at his car), nothing much is left of my car,” said Saumya Gupta, a Golf Green resident whose nine-year-old red Wagon-R was one of the gutted vehicles.
Employees of One Auto Pvt Limited tried in vain to control the flames with foam fire extinguishers. Ten fire tenders worked for over six hours to douse the blaze.
Police and fire brigade officers said there were no reports of anyone being injured or trapped.
“The computers where details of the vehicles and their owners were stored have been gutted. But the same data is also recorded in manual logs, which are intact,” said Janmenjoy Ghatok, the manager of the service centre.
Another official said they had centralised data that could be accessed from their head office.
Several of the car owners who had queued up to check on their vehicles said they were clueless about what to do to recover the loss.
“I have been asked by the officials here to retain the top-sheet I was given when I had brought my car for servicing here. Apparently, nothing else is needed to prove that my car was inside the unit,” said an owner.
“Different types of insurance schemes are available. Some policies cover damage by fire. The amount of the claim and the procedure for assessment of the damaged vehicle will depend on the terms and conditions of the respective policies,” a police officer.