Pahalgam fire: Firefighters came unprepared, allege locals

SHABIR AHMAD
PAHALGAM: A day after a major fire destroyed property worth crores including the Tourist Reception Center (TRC) building in this famed tourist spot, the local residents on Tuesday said that firefighters were unprepared to control the blaze.
“The fire started at around 7:30 pm, but a fire tender that reached the spot had little water in store. The nearby reservoir too was without water. The water in the fire tender got exhausted only five minutes after it started dousing the flames,” the locals told Kashmir Reader.
They said the officials had to call the fire tenders from other stations including Aishmuqam, Salar and Srigufwara.
“By the time the fire tenders from other stations reached here damage had been done. Had the fire officials been prepared, damage would have been much less,” said a local Mohammad Ashraf.
Mushtaq Pahalgami, a social activist, said it was ironical that only two fire tenders have been kept available in Pahalgam. “Hundreds of tourists stay here every night at the peak of tourist season. But only two fire tenders are available here. God forbid, if the fire had broken out late night there would have been civilian casualties as well,” Pahalgami said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and leaders of opposition People’s Democratic Party visited Pahalgam and took stock of the situation following yesterday’s fire incident, an official handout said.