.........ROURKELA: A major fire broke out at a firecracker vending zone near Power House Road in Rourkela city killing one person and destroying property in the wee hours on Wednesday.
According to preliminary estimation, as many as 46 makeshift shops, 18 bikes and property worth Rs 1.5 crore were gutted in the fire mishap.
Panposh Sub-Collector Himanshu Sekhar Behera, who immediately rushed to the spot, informed that the fire broke out of unknown reason in the secluded firecrackers vending zone at about 2.30 am.
The fire in no time menacingly converted into an inferno to fill the sky with orange light and smoke with deafening sound to instil fear among residents of adjacent areas.
The area under Uditnagar police limits was cordoned off as six fire extinguishing units of the Odisha government and two of
Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) brought the fire under control.
The damage could have been huge had the fire spread to trucks parked at the truck parking. Assistant Fire Officer SK Behera said they had not issued no-objection certificates to any of the firecrackers shops.
The Sub-collector, however, said 243 firecracker vendors have been given temporary fire licences by the Sundargarh district administration to open their stalls across Rourkela city. "I have asked officials to conduct fire safety audit," he added.
Rourkela Tahsildar BR Rath one Biswajit Jena (18) present at one of the shops was burnt alive while others managed to run to safety. He said such was the rage of the fire that it melted down 11 KV overhead wires.
"The firefighting personnel prevented the spread of the fire to nearby areas. Though the exact reason of the fire is not known, it is suspected the fire might have broken out from either lighted mosquito repellent coil or cigarette," Rath said adding a report would be submitted to the administration soon.
Rourkela SP Uma Shankar Dash said he has written to all the authorities concerned to initiate necessary actions.
Police would also start verification of licences of firecracker vendors and stern action would be taken against defaulters, he added.