Deadly fire breaks out at Indian market

2013-02-27 10:00
Firemen wait outside as smoke arises after a fire broke out early morning at an illegal six-storey plastics market in Kolkata, India. (Bikas Das, AP)

Firemen wait outside as smoke arises after a fire broke out early morning at an illegal six-storey plastics market in Kolkata, India. (Bikas Das, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kolkata - A fire broke out at an illegal six-storey plastics market in the Indian city of Kolkata early on Wednesday morning, killing at least 18 people, police said.

The blaze, which started before 04:00, was likely caused by a short circuit, said West Bengal fire minister Javed Khan. The fire was under control by mid-morning, he said, but toxic gases being released by the blaze were hampering rescue efforts.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said at least 18 people had died. He said police were looking for the owner of the building, which was filled with dozens of small shops selling various plastic products.

At least 11 people were hospitalised in critical condition and the death toll was expected to rise, Khan said.

He called the scene of the fire "an illegal, unauthorised market".

However, local residents said the market had been operating in the building for nearly 40 years. They said there was only one entrance to the building, which made rescue efforts difficult.

The building housed several warehouses on its upper floors, where chemicals, paper and plastics were stored.

Police said the victims were porters working in the market, who also slept there at night. Seventeen of the dead were men.

In December 2011, at least 93 people died in a deadly fire in a hospital in Kolkata. Soon after that, the state's top elected official had promised that her government would crackdown on lax safety procedures in public buildings.

Safety regulations are routinely ignored in India, where fire stairways and evacuation drills are rare. Even if fire extinguishers are present, they are commonly several years old and never serviced.

Read more on:    india

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.