Material worth lakhs was reportedly gutted after a major fire broke out in a three-storeyed showroom of hosiery and cosmetic items at the main market here on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. In all, 17 fire tenders pressed into service took 15 hours to bring the fire under control.
Sources said winds caused sparks in the electricity wires, leading to the fire around midnight. Gradually, it gripped the entire building. Neighbouring residents informed the showroom owner, who called the fire brigade.
The fire brigade from the military base and a team of municipal council reached the spot with fire tenders and water tanks. Patti sub-divisional magistrate Amandeep Singh Bhatti and municipal council president Surinder Singh also rushed to the spot besides the local police.
Hoses of the military fire tenders, however, failed to work, and the fire brigade had to be called in from Amritsar and Tarn Taran to douse the flames, which had started spreading to other buildings in the congested market area. With the help of a JCB machine, shutters of the shops were broken and the firemen managed to bring the fire under control, but only after it had also damaged some neighbouring shops.
Showroom owner Sanjeev Jain accused Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) of negligence, which led to the fire. He also alleged the fire brigade did not reach on time, which led to huge damage. “The first fire tender reached from Amritsar at 2am and the next came in at 3am,” he said, claiming that the fire had caused a loss of more than Rs 2.5 crore.
The fire brigade, meanwhile, attributed the delay in bringing the fire under control to the congested area. Patti station house officer (SHO) Rajwinder Kaur said police are investigating the matter to know the reason behind the fire.