Guwahati reports highest number of fire incidents during Diwali
GUWAHATI: Between the festivities of Kali Puja and Diwali many fire incidents were reported from across the city as well as the state of Assam. It was not an easy Diwali for the fire service department this time. As many as 39 cases of fire were reported during the two days from various parts of the state including Udalguri, Nalbari, Tezpur and Golaghat.
Interestingly, 17 of these 39 fire cases were reported from Guwahati, making Guwahati one of the most unsafe and dangerous places in the state to be in during Diwali.
Among the 17 incidences of fire reported in Guwahati, crackers were the reason behind a total of six fires. Further, fire was caused at two places due to short circuit and two places due to LPG cylinder leakage. The cause of fire remains unknown for the remaining seven fires.
In Guwahati, crackers caused fire at six locations – Chandrapur, Ulubari, Bishnupur, Dispur, Rukminigaon and Milan Chowk.
While in four of these six places, fire was caught on coconut trees, in the other two it was caught on piles of garbage (Bagarbari area of Dispur and Bishnu Path area of Rukminigaon).
Speaking to G Plus, Deputy Director of Fire & Emergency Services, Jayshree Khesra said, “Guwahati reports a large number of fire incidences during Diwali every year. However, this year, the number of cases reported due to crackers was comparatively less and so was the loss incurred.”
She further informed that the efforts of the fire department could be credited for the same. Fire & Emergency Services station at Pan Bazaar that generally has 52 personnel stationed, got in ten additional personnel from the regional training centre. They stationed three fire tenders at the busy areas of the city – Bharalumukh, Fatasil Ambari and Fancy Bazar – and also sent in motorcycle-bearing teams with extinguishers at other areas. Additionally, they conducted television campaigns and mock exercises to raise awareness.
Fire during Diwali brings doom and gloom to certain city areas
Among the 17 instances of fire reported during the festival, two were those of massive infernos that broke at residential areas of the city. One such incident was reported from Kahilipara 4th Assam Battalion campus where a massive fire gutted 11 houses in the Harijan Colony. The fire was so intense that the poor families could not save anything. It was indeed a very bad Diwali for these souls.
It was around 8:20 in the evening on 7th November, when the fire was reported and immediately fire tenders were pressed into service. The inferno quickly engulfed the houses in the Harijan Colony. It took over three hours and nine fire tenders to bring the fire under control. Three families whose everything got gutted in the fire reported that a total of Rs 19 lakhs turned into ash in this inferno, including two two-wheelers.
A total of 40 families reside in the Harijan Colony. The fire singed a single line of 11 houses. As per locals, the people of the colony were busy lighting diyas and bursting crackers when the fire started from the house of one Uma Shankar due to a cracker.
However, clarifying the reports published by various media houses, Deputy Director of Fire & Emergency Services, Jayshree Khesra informed G Plus that crackers weren’t the reason behind the fire caused at Harijan Colony.
One of the elderly women of the colony, Golap Koli, reported that she had kept Rs 12 lakhs for buying a piece of land and for medical expenses; the same was destroyed in the fire. Similarly, a blind person by the name of Rajen Dom reportedly lost Rs 2 lakhs. Ranjit Dom who is the neighbour of Uma Shankar could not get the time to save Rs 5 lakhs that he had kept to buy a piece of land. A lot of burnt currency notes were recovered from the spot by the fire service officials. One resident, Vijay Dom, reportedly lost his Apache motorcycle and an Activa scooter in the fire while another resident Karan Dom's scooter got damaged by the fire.
The Director General of Police, Assam, Kuladhar Saikia and Commissioner of Police, Guwahati Pradip Saloi and other high government officials visited Harijan Colony to understand the plight of the residents and assured all help. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament, Bijoya Chakraborty, visited the colony and chalked out plans to rehabilitate the families.
“Since the fire took place on government property and the employees were affected, a temporary community home for the families will be set up on the instructions of the Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal. Till the time the community home is ready the affected families will be accommodated in the nearby drill shed of the 4th APBN,” the Guwahati MP said.
The Kamrup District Administration informed Chakraborty that it is working in providing food and other amenities to the people. Later, the MP informed that a double-storey structure will be built for the families.
The other major fire that kept the authorities at the Fire & Emergency Services busy this Diwali was at the Fatasil Ambari area. As per reports the fire took place at Raghunath Path near Barsapara in the premises of Subodh Mallick and Shibu Chakraborty that housed 12 families.
Residents alleged that the fire started after crackers hit the house and slowly the fire engulfed the whole house and that led to the three cooking gas cylinders catching fire and bursting. Soon, the fire went out of control and the whole campus came under its grip. All the houses were affected and everything inside them was destroyed.
Initially, two fire tenders rushed to the spot but were not able to control the fire and five more fire tenders were put into service. It took the fire tenders almost two and a half hours to bring the fire under control. The fire managed to destroy property and personal belongings of the residents worth lakhs of rupees but thankfully no lives were lost.