A major fire engulfed a shopping complex in Odisha's Puri district, destroying nearly all 40 stores.
The fire was spotted at around 9 pm on Wednesday at a garment store on the first floor of Laxmi Market Complex on Grand Road, he said.
Twelve firefighters were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the flames.
The firefighters rescued three people who were trapped on the building's roof while they were unconscious, according to the officer.
On two separate floors, the building, which is located near the centuries-old Jagannath temple, also houses a hotel and a bank. Around 140 tourists were safely evacuated from the spot and are under observation
Three firefighters fell ill during rescue op
SK Upadhyay, the director general of fire service, said three personnel engaged in the firefighting operations fell ill in the midst of the heat and the smoke, and had to be taken to the hospital.
He also stated that the flames spread to nearby buildings, "despite best attempts to bring the blaze under control".
Puri Sub-Collector Bhavataran Sahu said, "We are still unable to ascertain the cause of the fire." According to the local police, an electrical short-circuit may have started the fire.
Meanwhile, Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi of the BJP claimed that the district administration has failed to ensure the installation of fire safety systems at the hotels and other establishments in the seaside town.
(With PTI inputs)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)