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Fire ravages hosiery unit in Ludhiana, no casualty

Blaze battle: 15 tenders pressed into service as firefighters struggle to douse the flames; officials say short-circuit could have triggered the fire.

punjab Updated: May 20, 2018 15:17 IST
HT Corrrespondent
HT Corrrespondent
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Fire in Ludhiana,Ludhiana hosiery unit,no casualty
Flames billowing out of the hosiery unit in Ludhiana on Saturday. (Gurminder Singh/HT)

Fire broke out at a hosiery unit in Jaswant Nagar of Bindra Colony in Shiv Puri area on Saturday morning at around 6.30. Though no casualties were reported, the owner of the unit suffered minor burn injuries on his arms.

As per reports, there were around four labourers working inside the building when the fire broke out but they, along with the owner, Laddi Makkar, who was sleeping inside, rushed outside and managed to escape.

However, they could not rescue the owner’s pet dog and a monkey that were tied inside on the fourth floor of the building.

Another dog, which was on the first floor, was rescued. Though the exact cause of the fire has not been ascertained, it is being suspected that it may have been due to short circuit.

As many as 15 fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames, however, the fire was still blazing at the time of the filing the report. Firefighters said strong winds fanned the fire further, making their job difficult.

They said that since the hosiery unit is located in a congested area, they had trouble reaching the spot.

At around 12 noon, an explosion was heard from inside the building, leading firefighters to suspect that it may have been due to the LPG cylinder kept inside the building.

Meanwhile, relatives of the hosiery unit alleged that fire brigade took over an hour to reach after they were informed.

Assistant divisional fire officer (ADFO) Bhupinder Singh denied the allegation and said that they reached as soon as they got the information at around 7am. “Fifteen fire tenders were pressed into service. The building seemed to have tilted a little and as a precautionary measure we have vacated all nearby buildings,” he said, adding, “Once we douse the flames, we will carry out a thorough inspection to rule out the possibility of a collapse. If we find that the building has lost its strength, we would tell the owner to demolish it.”

Mayor Balkar Sandhu also visited the spot to inspect the situation.

Building in a congested area

The hosiery unit was established by joining two plots with entry/exit on both sides of the building. An adjoining residential building was also being attached and being converted into a hosiery unit. Moreover, construction was being done on the top floor of the hosiery unit. ADFO Bhupinder Singh said that they would check if the owner had a no-objection certificate for running the unit and if any discrepancies are found then action would be taken accordingly.

No proper equipment

Meanwhile, there is no end to the struggle of firefighter. After Saturday’s mishap, firefighters were seen trying to douse the flames without any safety equipment of hydraulic system.

Sources in the fire safety department said that there should be at least 370 firefighters, given the rising population in the city. But currently, there are only 86 sanctioned posts and out of those only 60 have been filled.

Another firefighter said that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had made tall claims for providing proper equipment after the plastic factory blaze in November last year, however, so far nothing has been done.

Cabinet Minister and MLA (Ludhiana west) Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that the matter has already been taken up by local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and soon proper equipment would be provided to the firefighters.

First Published: May 19, 2018 14:40 IST