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Fire destroys 100 stalls, 53 vehicles
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, November 8
As many as 100 shops selling firecrackers were gutted in a fire that broke out in the makeshift market at the National Government College grounds on the eve of Diwali here today.

Besides, over 50 two-wheelers and three cars were also destroyed, though no casualties have been reported.

According to initial estimates, crackers worth Rs 1 crore were destroyed in the fire.

The loud noise of crackers and fire flames spread panic among the locals.

The administration has announced an immediate compensation of Rs 25,000 each to stall owners.

The police said the fire broke out in one of the stalls at about 2 pm and the flames engulfed all stalls set up in the college campus on the occasion of Diwali.

Sources said the fire engulfed the market after a shopkeeper while giving a demonstration of bursting Chinese crackers to customers lit a fire to crackers. Within 10 minutes, the fire spread all over the market and reduced the stalls into ashes.

However, there was no loss of life as most of the stall owners and the customers rushed out in time.

Later, firemen, local administration officials and the police tried their level best to control the fire.

Aggrieved shopkeepers have alleged that the fire spread widely and could not be controlled in time, as two out of the three fire tenders available on the site for safety were not filled with water when the incident occurred.

While raising slogans against the state government, they said the timely action could have saved their stalls.

Deputy commissioner V. Umashankar and superintendent of police Vikas Arora visited the spot and announced that compensation would be given to stall owners after making proper assessment of the loss.

“We are giving immediate relief of Rs 25,000 to each victim,” the DC said.

Regarding the allegations of the shopkeepers, the DC said the SDM had been entrusted the task to inquire allegations of non-availability of water in the fire tenders when the fire broke out and to submit the report. He said action would be taken after the report. As per preliminary reports, one out of the three fire tenders started late due to some problems. However, all were filled with water, he added.

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