150 shops gutted in Kohima

KOHIMA, June 19: More than 150 small shops were gutted and property worth crores of rupees destroyed in a major devastating fire at Sokhriezie T-Khel Market, Kohima, just a stone throw away from the Nagaland Fire & Emergency Services headquarters, in the wee hours of Saturday.
There was, however, no report of loss of lives in the inferno that lasted for more than four hours.
Though the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, fire services personnel suspect that the fire was reportedly caused by electrical short circuit emanating from a building above the leather shops. However, some onlookers said that the fire broke out from the cluster of booze joints adjoin the market.
Majority of the shops and stalls destroyed dealt in vegetable productsand second hand cloths.
According to Fire personnel, dousing the inferno was made more difficult asmost of the shops were locked and that the entire market stalls were made of both CGI sheet and plastic roofing besides containing highly inflammable materials.
The inferno became more furious afterat least five gas cylinders burst at periodic intervals.
The fire was finally brought under control around 5.30 am after Fire personnel assisted by Assam Rifles andpublic volunteers battled more than four hours.
The alleged floppy handling in controlling the fire by Fire personnel has drawn much criticism from the public.
While Fire Service officers maintained that they received information about the fire at around 12.30 am, leaders ofT-Khel Kohima village and public however claimed that the fire actuallybroke out at around 11 a.m. They saidthe matter was reported to the fire station by around 11.30 am but that ittook a long time before there was anyresponse.
It was also learnt that an irate mob gathered at the site while the market was on fire, attempted to assault the firemen. They smashed the windshieldof a stationary fire tender which developed a technical problem in its water pump.
Saturday's fire incident is the fourth major fire incident in the state capital this year. The major fire incidents included the February 8 fire incident at the chief minister official bungalow,followed by March 22 and 27 fire incidents that took placed near Alder College, Sepfuzou and New Market.

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