District fire department was kept busy in the past 24 hours, with fires breaking out at six places in the city and its adjoining areas. The incidents rendered over three dozen people homeless, besides causing damage to articles and properties worth lakhs. While two incidents were reported from slums, three fires broke out at factories and another fire occurred at a wheat godown.
As many as 45 slum dwellers were rendered homeless after a fire broke out at the slum near Ladhowal Toll plaza on Sunday evening.
Fire broke out around 6:15pm, when most of the labourers were off to work in the nearby villages. Shanties of eight families were destroyed, and all their belongings, including eatables, clothes, utensils, cash and other valuables were gutted.
Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the firefighters took around 45 minutes to douse the fire. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.
The homeless slum dwellers are now waiting for financial help from the district administration and the NGOs.
Ram Singh, a slum dweller, said, “All of us were working in the fields at a nearby village when fire broke out. I have lost everything in the incident. I had kept Rs 1,000 cash in my house. Now, we have nothing to eat and we spent entire night in the open.”
Manju Devi and her husband Ashok were running a small shop from their shanty, which was engulfed in the fire.
Fire officer Rajinder Sharma said, “Fire tenders were rushed to the spot immediately after receiving information. Exact reason behind the fire is unknown.”
Sources said that it was suspected that someone might have thrown a burning cigarette that led to the fire. They said there was no chance of a short circuit, as the slum had no power supply.
A major fire broke out at a slum at Dhandari on Sunday night. Local resident Gaganpreet Singh, who was returning from a wedding noticed the fire, and called the fire department for help. “Fire spread to four shanties within seconds,” he said.
The fire wing has confirmed that fire took place at the slums, but the Dhandari police had no information about the incident. Sources said that articles of slum dwellers were gutted in the incident.
Another fire broke out at a plywood factory on Hambran Road on Sunday night. Rajinder Sharma informed that a fire tender was rushed to the spot after they received information at 9:35pm. The fire was brought under control within an hour. Articles and property got damaged in the incident.
Wheat bags gutted
On Monday morning, over 31,000 bags of wheat were burnt after a fire broke out at the godown of Punjab Agro food supply at Mullanpur Dakha, 15 kilometres from Ludhiana. After a prolonged struggle, four fire tenders controlled this fire, which started around 10am.
As labourers came to know about the fire, they informed officials.
The loss of wheat gutted in fire is estimated to be in lakhs. As firefighters sprayed water to douse the fire, the remaining wheat was also affected with water resulting to more losses.
Officials, including sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Richa, Punjab Agro DM Jagtar Malli, tehsildar Yashpal Singh and police reached the spot to take stock of the situation.
SDM (west) Richa said, “The reason behind fire is not known. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and fire was brought under control by evening. We are studying the damage.”
Fire officer Rajinder Sharma said, “Two fire tenders were rushed from Ludhiana and another from Jagraon. Fire was controlled within two hours, but tenders remained stationed there to tackle any situation.”
Punjab Agro DM Jagtar Singh Malli said the exact loss was not known, but they would find out the estimated loss in a couple of days.
A major fire broke out at Poddar Tyres Limited, a factory, at Jugiana near Ludhiana on Monday afternoon. Articles worth lakhs were gutted. The firm deals in manufacturing two-wheeler and rickshaw tyres and tubes. Raw and packing material was stored in the godown, which was completed destroyed in the incident.
Besides, godown’s roof was completely damaged, but no casualty was reported.
A security guard at the factory said he had noticed smoke coming out of the godown around 1pm and rushed immediately towards it. “We made efforts to douse the fire, but to no avail. The fire team reached around 30 minutes after the fire broke out.”
Fire officer Rajinder Sharma said, “As many as 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The tenders made at least 50 rounds to bring water for sprinkling. The factory staff was also seen helping the firefighters.”
“It took them around three hours to douse the fire. Fire tenders were called from all stations in the city,” he added.
Factory finance and accounts vice-president Raj Masih said, “It is suspected that articles worth `60 lakh were gutted. Reason behind fire has not been ascertained. Exact damage is yet to be surveyed.”
Bicycle parts unit
A fire took place at a bicycle parts unit at Focal Point around 3:45pm on Monday. A fire tender from Gill Road fire station was rushed to the spot.
Leading fireman Pardeep Kumar informed that the fire broke out after blast occurred in a furnace at the factory. No casualty was reported, he added.