63 shops gutted in massive fire at Market Yard mango festival in Pune
More than 200 people, including customers and mango farmers, were forced out of the mango festival at Market Yard on Friday after flames engulfed the venue, reducing all 50 mango stalls into ash. Similarly, many mango boxed were destroyed, along with their containers and grass, leading to chaos at the venue at around 12.45pm on Friday. The fire consumed the entire area within ten minutes even as businessmen tried to douse flames with water.The festival was organised by Maharashtra state agriculture marketing board aiming to make mangos affordable to residents.
Officials from the fire brigade found it difficult to battle the raging flames as road barricades erected for the festival made it difficult for the firefighters to access the area. Four fire tenders and two water tankers were pressed into action. Fire brigade officials claimed that the fire could have been caused due to a short circuit or due to excessive summer heat. Prashant Ranpise, chief, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) fire brigade, said that the fire completely destroyed mango kiosks and what was left was just charred remains of raw mangoes and wooden boxes. “Almost all boxes were destroyed in the fire and cloth pandals, made of bamboo sticks and grass, was also reduced to ashes. We had to cross a lot of hurdles before getting our fire tenders near the venue due to road barricades,” he said.
Farmer Anil Kadam said that he sustained a huge loss due to the fire and that it was a personal setback to himself and the business he was doing. “We request the government to consider our plight and compensate accordingly, ” he said.
JJ Jadhav, manager, domestic marketing board, said that 63 stalls by mango farmers from Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri had been set up at the time of the fire incident. “The fire spread fast and before we could realise what was happening, the pandals were burnt and charred. Though fire extinguishers were available, they could not control the flames. No casualties were reported . Tin sheets were falling down and our department is planning to compensate them shortly and alternate arrangements for sale of their produce is being made ,” he said.