Itanagar: Around 700 shops were gutted in a massive fire that broke out at Naharlagun Daily Market near Itanagar on Tuesday morning.
No casualties were reported in the massive fire. The market is said to be the oldest in the state situated near the fire station and Naharlagun Police Station, around 14 km from Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar. The fire is suspected to be caused by firecrackers or lamps lit for Diwali celebrations.
Firefighters swung into action immediately, but as the shops constructed of bamboo and timber with dry items stored in abundance in the market, the blaze spread fast, claimed police officials.
Panicked shopkeepers struggled to save anything they could as exploding LPG cylinders further added fuel to the fire. Three fire tenders, brought from Itanagar, took several hours to douse the blaze. The damage caused by the fire is estimated to be in crores of rupees.
After spotting the blaze, the shopkeepers rushed to the adjacent fire station, but no personnel were present. Further, when the fire services personnel arrived, the fire engines did not have water. To refill the engines, the personnel had to travel a long distance, and they could come back with water only around 5 AM, by which major section of the market gutted.
According to the President of Naharlagun Bazar Welfare Committee – Kipa Nai, “The police also did not act. All of them should be terminated from service for failure to perform their duties.”
Addressing the reporters, the President of Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACC&I) – Tarh Nachung demanded the suspension of all fire personnel on duty for negligence.
It was the failure of the government that it did not set up the minimum infrastructure required for fire fighting — such as water filling points, which should immediately be made available at different locations in the Capital Complex, he said.
Taking to Twitter, the Arunachal Chief Minister – Pema Khandu assured that the state administration will extend every possible support to the affected people.