Saswat Singhdeo

Nayagarh: Houses of at least five families were reduced to ashes after a major fire broke out at Srirampur in Daspalla of Nayagarh district yesterday night.

According to some locals, Fire Services personnel allegedly refused to come for rescue operation citing ongoing state-wide indefinite cease-work strike. Even as villagers tried to douse the flame, the fire engulfed houses one after another.

The reason behind the fire and extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained.

"We had called the fire department but they didn't come to the spot. The affected residents have lost all their valuables and cash," a villager Ganesh Behera said.

There has been no response from the Fire Services department yet regarding the incident.

The Odisha Fire Services personnel had launched an indefinite cease-work strike yesterday across the State demanding fulfilment of various demands including a salary equivalent to that of Odisha police, regularisation of contractual employees, immediate disbursal of pension of retired employees and registration of Havildar fireman association.

According to sources, more than 5000 firemen, havildars, drivers of the department have joined the protest.