By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Nov 12: Sixty eight stores and five dwellings were gutted as fire fighters continued to struggle to douse the inferno that engulfed Fancy Bazar on Wednesday night.
Fire fighters were uble to completely douse the blaze – said to be the worst ever fire incident in the State – till late on Thursday night as it reduced to ashes an area of around 40,000 sq feet.
The fire reportedly started at around 9 pm from the cotton godown of Radheshyam Ramesh Kumar located at New Market. Firecracker explosion is believed to have sparked the blaze.
The owners – preoccupied with the Lakshmi Puja rituals – were alerted only after the fire spread to adjacent stores, mostly garment outlets and godowns. Within minutes, the blaze engulfed a large area.
Official sources today said 43 stores in New Market and 25 at Shiv Market were completely destroyed in the fire, besides five residences.
There were reports of eighteen cylinder blasts which increased the intensity of the blaze.
Around 40 fire tenders – including twenty from the Panbazar Fire Station and others drawn from neighbouring places like gaon, Barpeta, Sipajhar, Morigaon, Baihata Chariali and Mirza – were deployed to douse the inferno.
Though the fire was brought under control by 3 am on Thursday morning, the blaze flared up again at around 7 pm at Shiv Market and Keshav Katra, apparently due to sparks that reached the adjacent godowns.
"Some of the godowns were closed. Neither did these have any ventilation. This impeded the reaction from owners and response from fire fighters," said an eye–witness.
A fresh blaze was reported again at around 1 pm today.
"The fire tenders are continuously spraying water but smoke continues to billow out of the debris," said another eye–witness late on Thursday night.
The cumulative losses due to the fire is estimated at a staggering Rs 100 crore, according to Mahabir Jain of Kamrup Chambers of Commerce. "We will raise some dotions to help the garment merchants," he said.
Fire statistics of Assam From 2010 to 2015
Year Major fire calls Total No.of fire call Injured Dead Loss
2010 428 2176 0 17 Rs 42 cr
2011 486 2530 9 33 Rs.45 cr
2012 606 3542 22 85 Rs.63 cr
2013 691 3736 27 127 Rs.130 cr
2014 728 4503 25 181 Rs 64 cr 2015 473 2941 29 109 Rs. 57 cr
Major Fire Incidents at Fancy Bazar
26 January, 1968: A fire broke out at New Market during Language Agitation
1970 – A fire broke out at WIMCO company’s godown (behind Sitaram Thakurbari)
1989 – A fire was reported at GMC market
2011– An inferno engulfed the Wakf Board office campus