Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 2:
One person was charred to death and more than 50 houses gutted when a fire broke out at Mangala slum in Unit-IV area under the Kharavela Nagar police limits here this morning.
According to Fire official Ramesh Majhi, the fire which erupted from a house in the slum at around 11 am, spread rapidly to other houses .
“Preliminary report suggests more than 50 houses were gutted in the fire. Exact estimate of property damage will be ascertained after a proper survey,” he said.
After being alerted, fire brigade teams from Kalpana, Chandrasekharpur and Baramunda fire stations had rushed to the spot. However, by the time the teams reached, over 50 houses had already reduced to ashes.
Till reports last came in, the fire tenders were trying to bring the raging fire under control in the slum which has over 100 houses, most of them with asbestos roofs.
While the exact cause of fire was not immediately known, sources in the locality said the fire erupted after a LPG gas cylinder went off inside the kitchen of a house.
Bhasi Behera who was staying with her husband and a five year daughter said, they were panicked and ran out of their home when they suddenly found themselves encircled by thick smoke.
Trinath Behera alleged that although the fire broke out at 11 am, the fire brigade team reached the spot after one hour when the fire had consumed 40 to 50 houses. He said even the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials came only at 1 pm.
“No relief materials have been provided by the city administration until now. People whose houses have been gutted are still looking for a proper shelter where they can get protection from the scorching sun,” he said.
Susmita Behera, whose house was completely destroyed, broke down as she said all expensive and brand new items like TCV and fridge she had bought for her daughter’s marriage have been reduced to ashes.
Meanwhile BMC Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena who visited the spot said, a survey team along with Red Cross personnel will be pressed into service to assess the damage to property and relief materials and financial assistance will be provided as per the official guidelines
“We are now expediting the relief operation so that food and shelter are provided to the victims at the earliest,” he said..