A massive fire broke out in Mali Sahi slum of the City destroying over 250 houses and leaving scores of residents homeless on Friday evening. A large stretch of the slum, closer to the Masjid Colony, was burnt to ashes in the inferno.
No casualty was reported but one person sustained head injured after a wooden plank fell on him. Close to 12 fire tenders were engaged to bring the towering flames under control and the efforts were continuing well over five hours.
The fire was reported at about 6.45 pm from a hutment near the mosque and within no time, it engulfed the neighbourhood. Since the area is full of scrap and rags collected by local residents, the flames spread quickly.
As most of the houses are made of inflammable material, it helped the fire to spread fast. Soon, there were sounds of explosions of LPG cylinders which aided the fire further.
Hundreds of the residents including the old, disabled and the children were seen running for their lives as the flames rose high and engulfed the houses.
Close to 70 firefighters from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khurda, Balipatna, Fire Training Institute and those on Assembly duty with 12 tenders were mobilised to control the flames which were controlled around midnight.
The source of the fire was yet to be ascertained but electrical short-circuit was suspected to be the cause, the locals said.
“I was taken by surprise as the fire engulfed my house in no time. I along with my two children had no option but to run away. There was nothing I could salvage,” said a woman who was crying inconsolably and could not even identify herself.
“We have employed four tower lights to keep the area illuminated since power is out. The fire victims are sheltered in the mosque currently,” Assistant Fire Officer Ramesh Majhi said.