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Fire in Railway Office in Kolkata Kills 9; Mamata Visits Site

The deceased include four firemen, a police official and Railway Protection Force personnel, reports said. 

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Producer: Debayan Dutta
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

At least nine people have died after a fire broke out at the Eastern Railways Office on the 13th floor of the multi-storey New Koila Ghat building on Kolkata's Strand Road on Monday, 8 March.

The Kolkata Police has registered a case in connection with the fire and it will be investigated by the Detective Department of the Kolkata Police.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the spot to take stock of the incident.

The deceased include four firemen, a police official and two Railway Protection Force personnel, said the Chief Minister. Two other people from the eastern railways have also lost their lives.

Eight out of the nine deceased have been identified so far.

CM Mamata has announced financial aid of 10 lakh rupees to the family of the deceased and a job for one member of the family.

Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi has approved an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF for the next of kin of the deceased as well. Meanwhile, Rs 50,000 will be given to those seriously injured, the PMO announced on Tuesday morning.

The homicide department is at the site to investigate and the state forensics department will be reaching the site shortly. Initial reports have shown a lack of fire-fighting equipment on the 13th floor.

Mamata Hits Out at Railways

The nine casualties were trapped in a lift which they were taking to go up to the 13th floor.

"The lift was completely burnt", said Banerjee.

"This is a railways property but no one from the Railways is here", said Banerjee.

“I don’t want to do politics now. We asked the Railways for a map of the building to assist the firefighters in their operations. However, we were not provided one”, she added.

Reacting to the CM, Manoj Joshi, General Manager Eastern Railway told ANI that officers of railways were present there and that efforts were being made for whatever was required. “Maybe any map wasn't made available immediately, but staff members of railways were present to guide about the building,” he said

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"Taking the lift is not Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) during such operations. We will look into why that happened", said Sujit Bose, Minister of Fire and Emergency Services, West Bengal government.

Earlier, he said the teams were facing trouble because there was less space, making it difficult to put ladders in place.

Joshi said that a high-level team has been set up by railways to investigate the cause of the fire. “We will cooperate with the state in any probe they will conduct,” he added, according to ANI.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal also said that an inquiry has been to ordered into the fire. “All possible assistance has been provided by the Railways to the State Govt during this unfortunate fire accident. A high level inquiry consisting of four Principal heads of Railway departments has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire,” he tweeted.

PM, Railways Minister Condole Deaths

PM Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, and Goyal were among those who extended their condolences to the bereaved families.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also expressed his condolences, tweeting in Bengali, “I wish peace to the souls of the victims of the horrific fire and express my deepest condolences to their families.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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