Arunachal fire incident: At least 700 shops were gutted in a massive fire that broke out on Tuesday morning at Naharlagun Daily Market in Arunachal Pradesh.
According to the local police, the fire was first spotted at around 4 am and no casualty has been reported so far.
The market, the oldest in the state, is located around 14 kilometres from the capital Itanagar and also close to the police and fire stations in Naharlagun.
The police suspected that the fire was caused by firecrackers or lamps lit on the occasion of Diwali.
Although firefighters spranf into action immediately, the fire spread rapidly owing to the bamboo and timber construction of the shops and the large amount of dry goods stocked in the market.
The police noted that exploding LPG cylinders also added fuel to the fire as panicked store owners struggled to save anything they could.
Three fire tenders, one of which was brought in from Itanagar, fought for hours to bring the blaze under control, police said.
According to authorities, as many as three fire tenders struggled for hours to bring the blaze under control. The exact damage caused by the fire is yet to be asceratined nut it is estimated to be in crores of rupees, they said.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (Capital) Jimmy Chiram said the exact cause of the fire would be known after the completion of the investigation by the fire department.
Shopkeepers alleged that after spotting the blaze they rushed to the adjacent fire station but no personnel could be found.
Further, when the fire services personnel arrived, the fire engines did not have water.
To refill the engines, the personnel had to travel a long distance, and they could come back with water only around 5 am, by which most of the market was already gutted, the shopkeepers alleged.
"The police also did not act. All of them should be terminated from service for failure to perform their duties," Naharlagun Bazar Welfare Committee president Kipa Nai said.
After speaking to the shopkeepers, Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACC&I) president Tarh Nachung demanded that all fire personnel on duty be suspended for negligence.
He blamed state government for the incident, saying it did not set up the minimum infrastructure required for fire fighting -- such as water filling points, which should immediately be made available at different locations in the Capital Complex, he said. "If this is the situation in the heart of the capital, what would be the situation in the districts," he questioned.
Meanwhile, Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso told media that the market would be rebuilt by the state government in cooperation with ACC&I.
(With inputs from PTI)
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