A massive fire broke out in the newly built air-conditioned fruit and vegetable market on Wednesday morning in which a labourer was charred to death. The deceased has been identified as Vikram Kumar (26), a resident of Bihar.
He was sleeping underneath the shed at the time of the incident. The fire, which broke at around 4:40 am, spread across shed number 4 of the market within few minutes.
The reason of the fire is yet to be ascertained. The heavy loss could be gauged from the fact that besides vegetables and fruits, records and cash kept by the agents in over 30 temporary kiosks were gutted in the fire.
“We reached the vegetable market around 4:50 am but everything was gutted,” said a fireman. Apart from vegetable vendors, arhtiyas and agents were also present, managing the stock of vegetables and fruits brought by the farmers early morning.
It took three hours for three fire vehicles to douse the fire. The authorities came to know about the death of a labourer when they went inside to assess the damage.
Sub-divisional magistrate Gurpal Singh Chahal, who rushed immediately to the spot after the incident, said a magisterial inquiry had been ordered into the incident to probe the reasons behind the fire.
“Eyewitnesses told us that the fire broke out immediately and within few minutes, it engulfed the whole shed, causing destruction of goods,” he said.
Meanwhile, other of ficials probing the incident believe that the fire broke due to possible leakage in a LPG cylinder.
“We have not ruled out this angle. Officials of the Mandi Board have arrived and trying to find out reason behind the fire,” he said.
NO SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Built with a cost of Rs 25 crore, the air-conditioned vegetable and fruit market at Pariala lack fire safety equipment, which has made the situation grim and emergency response difficult.