NEW DELHI: Shortage of water, narrow lanes and weak buildings were among the major challenges faced during firefighting operations at the wholesale market of the Bhagirath Palace in Chandni Chowk here, officials said on Friday.
More than 100 shops were gutted in a massive fire at the market with cooling operations still underway, they said.
The fire began at around 9 pm on Thursday night in a shop and spread to other establishments, they said.
Traders said they had suffered losses of over Rs 400 crores due to the blaze.
According to the fire department, due to lack of water supply in the locality, a remote controlled machine used in fire-fighting operations proved to be less effective.
"It was not very effective as it requires a lot of water and there was already acute shortage because of non-availability of any water tank near by.
"Chandni Chowk, which is already a congested area with narrow roads made it difficult for the fire tenders to enter the spot. At some places, our fire-fighter were forced to break the barriers which were put up for beautification of Chandni Chowk," said Atul Garg, Director, Delhi Fire Service.
Another challenge was that the fire tenders had to be parked on the road side as they could not gain access into the narrow lanes of the blaze-affected spot, he said.
"Long water hoses had to be used to carry water for more than 300 metres during fire-fighting operations. However, a person named Ankit who works at a nearby metro station played an instrumental role in providing water resources or else the blaze could have spread to a much larger area leading to more damages," he added.
No injuries have been reported so far and traders suspect short-circuit to be the reason behind the incident.
Five major buildings got affected during the fire-fighting operations out of which three collapsed, they said.