.........BARGARH: A major fire broke out at Hatpada daily market in Bargarh town in the wee hours of Wednesday damaging property worth lakhs. Fortunately, no human casualty was reported.
The fire broke out at around 2 am and engulfed a large portion of the market. Some locals noticed the fumes of smoke and alerted the fire brigade officials. Three fire tenders rushed to the spot and worked for around five hours to bring the flames under control.
Sources said, two LPG cylinders stocked in one of the 24 shops which caught fire exploded, aggravating the situation. Although the fire threatened to engulf the entire market, timely action by the personnel prevented the blaze from spreading, said locals.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the fire was triggered by a short-circuit and spread soon as the shops share walls and the area is crammed. The market, besides housing vegetable vendors, also accommodates wholesalers who deal in disposable cups and plates besides stationery items which are highly inflammable. The initial loss figure has been pegged at above `50 lakhs.
Although the Bargarh Municipality was formed way back in 1956, there has been no visible development of the daily market though there has been a steep rise in the number of vendors and establishments. While plans to relocate the market was raised many times, stiff resistance from all quarters forced the administration to remain silent.
The threat of fire and lack of escape route is one the causes which called for change of venue of Dhanu Yatra from within Hatpada to more open space in Nishamani School ground which has more escape routes.
Bargarh MLA Debesh Acharya and Chairman of Bargarh Municipality Prashanta Behera also reached the spot and discussed with the affected shopkeepers. They assured all possible help even as Revenue Inspector and Amin made loss assessment which will be submitted to the State Government.
Assistant Fire Officer, Prafulla Kumar Biswal said, it seems that short circuit led to the fire and property worth around ` 40 lakh was gutted in the fire. The fire was sixth such incident in the market since 2002, the last being in 2015. The Hatpada fire comes close on heels of fire in the daily market at Golebazaar in Sambalpur which gutted 219 shops and destroyed property worth `80 lakh.