Death toll in Kolkata railway building fire rises to 9
Kolkata/IBNS: At least nine people, including firefighters and a cop, died after a fire broke out in the Eastern Railway office-building in Kolkata on Monday night.
Two more bodies were recovered from the building as the death count due to the fire touched nine.
Rescue workers said that both bodies have been recovered from a stuck elevator.
These two persons have been identified as Eastern Railway's Deputy Chief Commercial Manager (Database), Partha Pratim Mondal, and his bodyguard whose name is still unknown, according to reports.
Earlier, bodies of seven more people, including four firefighters, one Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawan and an ASI of Kolkata Police, were found from another elevator.
A fire and emergency services official said the four firemen, who lost their lives while battling the blaze, had been identified as Girish Dey, Gaurab Bej, Aniruddha Jana and Biman Purkait.
"Kolkata Police's ASI from Hare Street Police Station, Amit Bhawal, and an RPF man, whose name is still unknown, died in the fire while another deceased has not been identified so far," the officer added.
Meanwhile, a railway officer and a fireman were injured in the incident and are undergoing treatments at a railway hospital in the city.
Their conditions are said to be stable.
The fire was first seen at around 6:10 pm. on the 12th floor of the Eastern Railway's New Koilaghat office-building at Strand Road in central Kolkata and more than 15 fire tenders along with hydraulic ladders rushed to the scene.
Later at night, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and fire minister Sujit Bose, along with the senior officials of the city police, visited the spot to take a stock of the situation.
The CM has declared an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh and a government job to the next of kin of each deceased.
Alleging non-cooperation from the railway, Banerjee said, "It's a railway property and unfortunately I found no senior officer from the railway here, and we were not even provided a map of the old multi-storey office building" Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, till the last update came in, firefighters are currently continuing their efforts to douse pocket-fires and cool off the building while a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed to the scene.
Fire officials said that a search operation is still underway to confirm none is trapped inside the office building.
"A special investigation team of the fire service and forensic experts will visit the scene on Tuesday morning to probe the reason behind the fire," the official added.
Sincere condolences to the families of the 9 brave deceased including the 4 firefighters, 2 Railways personnel & a police ASI who have been fighting the fire at the Eastern Railways Strand road office in Kolkata.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 8, 2021
Expressing grief, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: "Sincere condolences to the families of the 9 brave deceased including the 4 firefighters, 2 Railways personnel & a police ASI who have been fighting the fire at the Eastern Railways Strand road office in Kolkata."
Railway officials including the GM are at the site and are working in coordination with the State Govt for rescue and relief efforts. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure safety of all concerned.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 8, 2021
"Railway officials including the GM are at the site and are working in coordination with the State Govt for rescue and relief efforts. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure safety of all concerned," Piyush Goyal added.