SRINAGAR: At least 12 shops and a commercial building housing two banks and a post office were gutted in a massive fire that erupted near Court Road in Lal Chowk area of capital Srinagar on Friday night.
Witnesses said the fire erupted at around 2 am from the first floor of a building where the office of Punjab National bank is located and within minutes engulfed the entire structure including more than a dozen shops.
They said that the cause of fire was unknown but the short circuit is believed to be the reason behind the massive fire damaging property worth more than four crores. The actual extent of damage was not ascertained immediately.
Mukhtar Ahmad, an owner of one of the gutted shops said that goods worth more than one crore rupees perished in his shop. “The fire was so intense that it did not spare a single item in the shop,” he told Kashmir Reader.
“I had near about 35 laptops in the shop besides the regular items. All of them are nowhere to be found. Only burnt scrap is scattered all over the shop floor and on shelves,” he said.
Latief Ahmad who owns another electronic appliances shop- New Global Stationary, says he suffered damage estimating around Rs 40 lakhs.
“We heard about the fire at around 3:30 am and we rushed to the spot. “On reaching here, we only found blazes coming out from the windows and shops. We couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Locals who reached the spot during the intervening night of Thursday-Friday night, said that they heard multiple explosions, believed to be of gas cylinders present in the premises of Panjab National bank.
“That(bursting of LPG cylinders) would have been the major cause for the fire to spread over and engulf several shops within a few minutes. If that wouldn’t have happened the damage would have been very less,” Bashir Ahmad, a local said.
An official of Fire and Emergency Department said that the intensity of fire was so high that more than 20 fire tenders had to be pressed into service to douse the fire.
He said that the fire tenders were pushed into service after a little delay because the electricity wasn’t terminated immediately and that’s why it took a longer time than expected.