As many as 12 shops were gutted after fire broke out in Khokha market in Barwala town on Friday night. Nine fire tenders had to be pressed into service, which took seven hours to douse the flames. Short circuit is said to be the reason behind the incident.
Besides, the incident resulted in a damage to nine other shops as well.
The traders are said to have suffered a loss of Rs 1 crore. No loss of life was reported.
The fire started from a barber’s shop. The fire department was informed at 10:10 pm and according to district fire officer SS Malik, a fire tender was pressed into service immediately. Sensing the situation, more fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
After that, a fire tender was called from Kalka, two from Naraingarh and one from Zirakpur. The fire department was able to bring the situation under control at 5 am.
Shopkeepers alleged that police personnel did not guard their goods when these were being taken out from the shops as some unidentified persons fled away with some of the goods. The traders said when they dialed 101, their call landed at Kalka fire station where an operator “rudely” told them to call Panchkula fire station, thus wasting the crucial time.
Satpal Singh, a shopkeeper who lost all of his savings in the fire, said had there been quick action, some of the goods could have been saved.
Another shopkeeper, Nilesh Sharma, said, “When we were busy in bringing out our goods from the shops, some persons were busy in stealing the articles.”
Deputy commissioner Vivek Atray said work to set up a fire substation here in Barwala would be taken up. He said that he has directed the fire department to station one fire tender at Barwala. Local MLA Gian Chand Gupta also visited the spot and assured the affected people of getting adequate compensation for them. A fire sub-station should be set up at Barwala, he said.