The massive fire that erupted in a market complex in the pilgrim town of Puri on Wednesday night and continued till Thursday, swallowed over 40 shops, but fortunately, over 150 tourists staying in a hotel and over 50 persons present at the shops escaped unhurt.
The complex known as the Laxmi Market Complex near Marichikot Chhak on Grand Road in Puri houses over 50 shops and a hotel named Samrat Hotel.
When the fire broke out at a garment shop on the first floor of the complex on Wednesday night, there were 110 tourists from Nasik and over 40 persons belonging to a family from Ganjam’s Hinjlicut staying in the hotel. Besides, over 50 people were at the shops. The visitors from Ganjam were to take part in a sacred thread ceremony scheduled for Thursday.
Soon the fire spread to other shops. As the news of the fire mishap broke, all the occupants of the hotel started running helter-skelter. They came rushing out leaving their valuables back in the hotel rooms as saving their lives was their top priority.
Seeing the blaze, they had already lost their hope of getting back their money, jewellery, clothes and other things. But thanks to the valour of the fire fighters, they could get back all their belongings. Even the family members from Ganjam got their gold ornaments and articles they had purchased for the sacred thread ceremony.
“While running out of the hotel rooms, we had left gold rings and chains. Today we got back all the ornaments. We also found the money we had in our bags safe,” said a tourist from Hinjlicut.
“We are 110 people from Maharashtra’s Nashik. As we were going to have our dinner, the mishap occurred,” recounted a tourist.
Fire officer, Central Range, Ramesh Chandra Majhi thanked the tourists for their patience and cooperation. “We are trying to recover all the things from the hotel rooms and after recovery we will hand them over to their owners,” said Majhi.
On the other hand, the businessmen have yet to come to terms with the losses caused by the mishap.
“I had a bag shop in the market complex. The fire has reduced my shop to ashes,” said an affected shop owner.
“My shop burst into flames just in front of my eyes. My family and the families of my 12 employees at my shop are in trouble now. I have taken loans from bank and friends and relatives,” said another businessman.
(Reported by Madhusudan Mishra, Pradeep Mohanty and Bibartan Panda, OTV)