Fire at Eastern Railway office in Kolkata, 7 dead, 8 firemen fall ill during operation
- The 13th floor houses the accounts office of the Eastern Railways.
Some offices of the Eastern Railway (ER) were damaged and at least one employee was hurt when the 13th floor of the organisation’s office at Kolkata's Strand Road in Kolkata caught fire on Monday evening, officials said.
The 13th floor houses the accounts office, said ER employees who evacuated the building. The person who was hurt did not sustain any major injury, they said. 7 people have been reported dead so far.
The fire was detected around 6.15 pm. The high rise called Koilaghata Building, is located beside the Hooghly river.
The intensity of the fire reduced around 9.30 pm, fire brigade officials said.
Because of the blaze, electricity connections to the building had to be snapped temporarily. This stopped online booking of tickets in all zones of the Eastern Railway, officials said.
At least eight people including fire brigade personnel fell ill while dousing the flames inside the building because of the thick smoke. Ambulances were pressed into service to take them to hospital.
Fire services minister Sujit Bose said, "At least three fire brigade personnel and two Kolkata Police personnel have fallen ill. The rescue teams are looking for people who need help. It is pitch dark inside the building."
Urban development minister Firhad Hakim and Kolkata Police commissioner Soumen Mitra rushed to the spot.
"It is a big fire. Ten fire tenders have been pressed into service. A hydraulic ladder has also been rushed to the spot. I am on my way," Bose said earlier in the evening.
"It is difficult to say what caused the fire. More fire tenders and firefighters are being sent," Bose added.
Fire brigade officials said at 7.30 pm that firefighters had managed to reach the 12th floor.
Kolkata Police officials restricted traffic movement on Stand Road, which is mostly used by people heading for Howrah station and the river jetties from where ferry services are available.