Crescent Kashmir

Nine killed as massive fire breaks out in Kolkata high-rise

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Nine people, including four firefighters, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, and an assistant sub-inspector of the Kolkata Police were killed when a massive fire broke out in the Eastern Railway’s office in central Kolkata on late Monday evening.

All the deceased had used the elevator, said a fire services official on Tuesday adding that the accident occurred on the 13th floor of the building.

“The fire which broke out around 6.10 pm was brought under control after nearly 11 hours, at around 5 am on Tuesday. There are still some pockets where the fire is yet to be doused. Our men are working and all engines are still there,” said a fire services official on Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out in a multi-storeyed building at New Koilaghat on Strand Road. The building houses the zonal offices of Eastern and South-Eastern Railways, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

At least 20 engines were pressed into service.

“Seven bodies were found in an elevator, two in another one. Nearly all (seven) the bodies were lying inside the elevator. They had used the elevator to climb up. As the floor was on fire and it was hot, the moment the elevator door opened, they got charred,” state fire minister Sujit Bose told media persons late Monday night.

“We will conduct an inquiry into why the firefighters and their police officer used the lift because it is completely against drill norms,” added Sujit Bose.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed grief over the incident and ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed grief over the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”

(With agency inputs)


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