Kolkata: Twenty people were killed and six others injured in a devastating fire on the first two floors of a building housing a market, a godown and offices in Sealdah area in the metropolis in the early hours of Wednesday.
West Bengal Disaster Management minister Javed Ahmed Khan told reporters here that 20 persons were killed in the blaze and six injured, with the condition of two critical.

Joint Commissioner of Police (HQ) Jawed Shamim, however, said 19 bodies have been found so far besides one charred limb.

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"This limb can be part of any of the 19 bodies that have been recovered or it can be a part of some other body," Shamim said.
The fire was detected at 3:50 am in the 25-year-old Surya Sen Market complex when some shopkeepers and labourers working in the market were fast asleep, with the blaze spreading from ground floor to the floor above, vice-chairman of the market Sushanta Ghose said.
The staircase of the market was blocked with goods making  it difficult for people trapped inside to escape, Ghose said. He said there was only one proper entry and exit and though there was one emergency exit, it was not used for the last 15 years.

Tragedy Was Waiting To Happen
Six-storey building with only one exit
Cramped corridors trapped people inside
It was unauthorized old building
No fire safety arrangement were available in the building
Old building with open wires hanging out
26 fire tenders fought to bring fire under control
Several feared trapped inside market
Cause of fire not yet known

Local people said they were alerted by shouts of people trapped inside the building.

"When I came out of my house after hearing screams, I saw flames leaping out and people shouting from the windows," Ranjit Hazra, a resident of the area, said.
According to fire department officials, plastics, paper and cloth were stored in the godowns in the building. The ground floor and the first floor which sustained the maximum damage housed 200 shops.
The Fire Services minister, who rushed to the spot and supervised fire-fighting operations, said firemen and police cordoned off the building and the blaze was brought under control in three hours by 26 fire-tenders.


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