Garments worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Fashion Point store and three adjoining shops at Akal Garh market in the narrow lanes of Chaura Bazar on the wee hours of Wednesday. All four shops belong to Manpreet Singh Bunty, president, Akal Garh Martket Association.
A police control room team patrolling the area at around 3am detected smoke coming out of the building and informed the guard. Eight fire tenders rushed to the spot which were stationed on Chaura Bazar Road. Since the vehicles could not enter the narrow streets, pipes were installed to reach the burning shops. The fire was doused at around 6.30am.
A fire officer, Rajinder Sharma, said the fire was caused due to a short circuit but was ably controlled by fire fighters. No casualties were reported. However, the owner of the shops, Manpreet Singh Bunty claimed that goods worth `40 lakh were destroyed in the fire.
“I have constantly demanded the Akal Garh Trust to repair the dangling wires in this area but to no avail. The short circuit took place due to these wires. The negligence of the trust authorities has failed to redress problems faced by shopkeepers,” he said. Others blamed the trust chairman for such incidents. “Despite our requests, trust chairman Hira Singh Gabria has failed to ensure fire safety for around 815 shops in the market. Had the fire not been controlled in time, it could have spread to many more shops,” said Gurdeep Singh Gosha, another leader of the market association and Youth Akali Dal president.
Gosha claimed that the fire had also damaged CCTV cameras and walls of a few shops nearby.
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Hira Singh Gabria, who looks after the Akal Garh Trust, was not available for comment.