Shops Gutted in Kolkata blaze — Fire after transformer bursts

Source: The Asian Age, 8 April 2004 (By The Asian Age Correspondent)
Kolkata, April 7: Devotees offering prayer at the Tipu Sultan Mosque in central Kolkata had a narrow escape ~on Tuesday when a devastating fire swept through the area following a transformer burst.

As plume of smoke blackened the city skyline, thousands who came to attend an evening prayer at the mosque scurried for shelter in the narrow bylane. Three shops adjacent the mosque were gutted. There was no report of casualty. A fireman was injured while battling the blaze. The loss of property is estimated to be around Rs. 8 Lakh.

Sources said the faulty transformer was repaired in the afternoon by the CESC officials when they were informed of oil dripping from the device. Around 5.30 pm the transformer burst with a deafening sound and fire broke out within a few seconds, soon spreading to the nearby shops and restaurants.

Four fire brigade engines were pressed into service and the fire was doused within an hour.

However, hundreds of people crowding in the area made matters worse.

The shop owners protested the lackadaisical attitude of the CESC officials regarding the repair of the transformer. One of them, Mohammad Wasim, alleged that earlier the transformer had caught fire twice but repeated.