New Delhi: At least nine people were killed in a fire at the Eastern Railway Headquarters in Kolkata on Monday. The accident occurred after the explosion on the 13th floor of the 14-storey New Koila Ghat building on Strand Road. Four of the nine victims have been identified as fire officers Girish Dey, Gaurav Baez, Anirudh Jan and Biman Purkat, while one of the victims was Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Amit Bhawal.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also visited the spot and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for the families of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the accident and announced compensation of Rs 2-2 lakh each for the families of those killed.
According to The Hindu, seven people died on Monday morning, while two more bodies were recovered from the building. 3 Railway Officer – Eastern Railway Deputy Chief Commercial Manager Partha Pratim Mandal, Security Officer Sanjay Sahani and railway employee Utpal Acharya were also among those who died in the fire.
Fire Minister Sujit Bose told The Indian Express that those who died were going to an elevator for search and rescue. He said that 25 fire engines were deployed for rescue operations. He also said that an inquiry would be ordered as to why the elevator was used at the time of the accident. He clarified that the SOP standard operating procedure is not to use elevators in the event of a fire.
The building has regional offices of Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway. Minister Bose said that the fire was started at 6.10 pm, which is now under control. The cause of the blast is not yet known.