Kolkata: The massive fire at the Eastern Railway office at Strand Road claimed at least nine lives and also left several injured.
According to firefighters, at least five firefighters along with security personnel of the Deputy Safety Commissioner and one RPF personnel died due to the fire on the 13 th floor of the building.
“Though the fire is under control now it has killed five of our workers. 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot but the space being narrow the hydraulic ladders took time to get set," mentioned a firefighter.
However, the sources from Eastern Railway stated that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined as the office had adequate measures to beat the fire.
According to a local lady Mina Das, many people have died inside due to suffocation.
“There fire was noticed at 6:30 pm, but due to the delay by the fire tenders the fire increased. I believe there are many more trapped inside and a poisonous gas also choked several of us standing on the road,” mentioned Mina.
West Bengal Minister of fire and emergency services, Sujit Bose said that four firefighters, two RPF personnel, and the ASI of Hare Street police station along with a Railway officer have died.
KMC Mayor Firhad Hakim and Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra were seen at the spot.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the spot late evening and announced 10 lakh rupees ex-gratia and state government services to the families of those who died.
“These buildings are old and the TMC government had long back asked for the maps of these buildings but the Railway didn't cooperate with us,” stated the Chief Minister.
Notably, no one from the Eastern Railway was seen at the spot.
Mamata Banerjee later went to SSKM hospital and had instructed the hospital officials to conduct the autopsy at night itself.
Families of the deceased and missing people were also seen reaching the state government-run SSKM hospital after getting the news.
Meanwhile, the Forensic team and a special investigation team formed by the West Bengal fire and Emergency service department will visit the spot on Tuesday morning to ascertain the actual cause of the fire.
Till the time of reporting, sporadic sparks of fire were seen at the building.