Welding may have caused fire at Chandigarh furniture market: Probe
A day after a major fire destroyed 13 shops, including a tea stall, at the furniture market on the Sector 53/54 dividing road, a preliminary inquiry suggested that a spark from welding may have caused the fire.
The fire spread soon, as highly combustible material is stored in the market, which is practically a furniture manufacturing hub, but without any fire safety measures.
Touted as the biggest furniture market of the city, the site has 117 shops that operate from temporary tin sheds.
“The tin-shed shops are as long as 300 feet, and store thinner, paint, mattresses, cloth, saw dust and ply sheets, which helped the fire spread quickly. In the name of fire safety, all the shops have is fire extinguishers,” said sources in the fire department that is preparing a report on the incident.
Despite the abundant fire hazards in the market, authorities cannot issue fire-safety NOCs to the shops, as these are illegal and encroaching on public land. The shops cannot even be removed due to a stay by the Punjab and Haryana high court following an appeal by the shopkeepers.
Meanwhile, a team from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory also visited the spot to ascertain if it was a case of arson. “If the report from CFSL points towards foul play, appropriate action will be taken, including registration of an FIR,” said a senior police official.
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