18 die as fire ravages Kolkata market (Third Lead)

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 05:40 hrs

Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) At least 18 people were killed and over a dozen critically injured Wednesday when a major fire broke out at an illegally-constructed multi-storey market complex here, authorities said.

"At least 18 persons have been killed in the fire so far," an officer manning the city police control said.

Over a dozen critically injured people have been taken to hospitals.

The fire broke out early Wednesday morning at the market in central Kolkata. Twenty-six fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the flame.

Fire brigade personnel scrambled to rescue people as many are feared trapped inside the market, which houses shops and paper godowns.

State Fire Services Minister Javed Khan said the complex in which the fire broke out was illegally constructed and most of the entry and exit gates were locked, resulting in people being trapped inside.

Locals said the toll could go up as many people are still trapped inside.

Leader of opposition in the West Bengal assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra demanded a probe into the incident.

"This is not the time to play the blame game. An immediate and impartial probe must be initiated into the matter and the administration must seriously look into how many buildings are there which are vulnerable to fires and must take immediate action," said Mishra who visited the site.

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