Cassian Baliarsingh

Over 50 shops were reduced to ashes along with valuables worth crores of rupees after a massive fire broke out at the daily market in Odisha’s Keonjhar early Monday morning.

The fire reportedly first broke out at a ‘utensils shop’ and soon spread like wildfire to other shops close by, thereby gutting over 50 shops. While the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained, firefighters have been engaged to douse the flames.

Meanwhile, shop owners and locals expressed outrage over the engagement of only one fire brigade team to douse the massive blaze.

“For such a massive blaze, they have only engaged one fire brigade team. My whole shop is gutted now. It was my only income source. I had borrowed loans to open the shop. I’m helpless now,” said a shopkeeper.

When contacted, Harischandra Das, Secretary, Keonjhar Market Committee said, “Through the media, I want to appeal to the District Collector to extend a helping hand to all the fire victims. Valuables worth Rs 50-60 crore have been destroyed in the fire mishap. The victims are helpless now; this was their only source of income. Their family and children were also dependent on this business income.”

“Keonjhar Sadar fire brigade with the help of a few other firefighters is now engaged to extinguish the blaze. The situation is slowly being controlled. It will take more time to battle the fire as the blaze has completely spread throughout. All compensation and losses will be detailed and appropriate steps will be taken for the victims after the fire is brought under control,” said sub-collector Ramachandra Kisku. 

Similarly, Patna MLA Jagannath Nayak said, “This is such an unfortunate incident. We are all shattered after getting the news. Entire Keonjhar has come forward to douse the fire and bring the situation under control.”

Speaking about the loss, Nayak said, “We will make a detailed report about all the losses after the situation is under control. We will surely help the victims to restart their lives.”

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