200 Houses Gutted in Capital Slum Fire
By Express News Service | Published: 03rd May 2014 09:30 AM |
A man was burnt to death and more than 200 houses razed to ashes in a fire mishap at a slum in Unit IV area here on Friday morning. The slum was home to more than 1,500 people, mostly construction workers, meat and fish vendors. The deceased, identified as Krushna Sahoo (45), a construction worker, was asleep when the incident occurred. His wife and children were not at the home.
The fire reportedly started due to short-circuit in one of the houses of the slum. The slum has high population density and is near Kar Clinic.
One of the first to spot the fire, Santosh Patra, a construction worker in his early 20s, said the fire began at about 10.45 am. “We threw several buckets of water to douse the fire but it spread fast and we had to flee,” he said while trying to console his neighbours.
Some time after the fire started, five cylinders exploded aggravating the situation, eyewitnesses said. With almost all the houses in the slum having thatched roof, the fire engulfed whatever came its way within 30 minutes.
Bhubaneswar Fire Officer Ramesh Chandra Majhi said they received the call from the slum dwellers at 11.50 am. While one fire vehicle was sent to the spot immediately, five more vehicles and over 30 fire fighters had to be roped in later considering the huge size of the slum. Majhi said property worth more than `15 lakh was destroyed in the fire. It took more than two hours for the fire fighters to bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, timely action by Kar Clinic officials, located behind the slum controlled the fire in its initial stage to some extent. Patra said about three pipes from the hospital were used to control the fire.
The women were evacuated by men present at the spot. A few lucky ones managed to save whatever they could grab. They were accommodated in a partially-constructed market complex adjoining the slum.
Santosh Behera, a fish vendor of another slum nearby, was going round trying to help people in tracing their family members. Like him, many people could be seen distributing water pouches, dry food and cold drink to the affected people.