The fire that ravazed a multi-storeyed building in Burra Bazar, India's biggest wholesale market, raged for the second day on Sunday tilting the structure to the left and sparking fears of its collapse even as the army joined efforts to douse the flames.
"The building has leaned a little to its left side and there is fear that a part of it may crumble. We have asked all concerned to keep off the area," city Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty told PTI.
He said following a request by the administration army jawans in fire-resistance suits entered the eighth floor of the building to assist in fire fighting operations which were hampered due to water shortage.
The fire was raging for over 35 hours at Nandaram Market turning it into a towering inferno as water canons could not reach the tenth and upper floors where the flames continued and had spread to the rear portion of the building.
Most of the 51 tenders, including those requisitioned from the Army and the Air Force, could not be used due to water scarcity in the area.
As flames lept to touch the generator room on the 12th floor, there were fears that an explosion could take place any moment if these touched 300 litres of diesel stocked there and that might pull down a large portion of the building.
"We are asking all those nearby to vacate and move to safer places," Chakraborty said. With the intensity of blaze increasing, cracks developed in the building and a part of it collapsed. Police said they apprehended a large portion of Nandaram Market building might collapse any moment.