Major fire hits Park Street building in Kolkata
Rescue personnel help a woman get down from a multi-storey office building, where a major fire broke out, in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Local people gather on the road as fire personnel try to douse a major fire that broke out at a multi-storeyed building on Park Street in Kolkata
KOLKATA: At least 5 persons were killed and many others trapped and injured when a devastating fire broke out in an old multi-storeyed building on upscale Park Street in south Kolkata on Tuesday.
Forty fire tenders were battling to contain the blaze, which started in an elevator shaft in 18/A Park Street, housing the popular Peter Cat restaurant and close to the iconic Flurys tea room, police said.
"At least 12 injured people have been removed from the building that has caught fire and one of them is in critical condition. They have been admitted to SSKM hospital," joint commissioner of police Jawed Shamin said.
"Forty fire tenders have been mobilised till now. The quick response team is also working," he added.
"There are many people still inside the building. We hope to remove all of them from the building," he said.
There was a huge traffic snarl as crowds collected on the arterial road, making it difficult for the fire tenders to access the building
There were dramatic scenes as people tried desperately to clamber down the British era building on ropes. One person was seriously injured when he jumped from one of the higher floors.
People were seen calling for help with their mobile phones while perched precariously on the terrace or on ledges. Some were waving for help from grilled windows.
Firefighters could be seen using several ladders and breaking windows to enter the building from Flurys side and rescue the people, including some old women, trapped inside.
"It is an old building and as such its fire-resistance capacity is not known. I can't say if the building can be saved considering the degree of devastation," said Pratim Chatterjee, fire services minister.
Chatterjee said that fire-fighters went inside the building and were rescuing the trapped persons one by one. He said there was no lack of water to fight the fire.
One person died in hospital and another succumbed to burns on the spot, finance minister Asim Dasgupta told the state assembly.
Dasgupta said he has spoken to the fire services minister and commissioner of Kolkata Police Gautam Mohan Chakraborty about the blaze.
Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee was among the political leaders who visited the spot.
The cause of the fire has not yet been ascertained.