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Sokhriezie T-Khel Market reduced to ashes

(Left) Fire raging at Sokhriezie T-Khel Market (BOC Market), Kohima in the wee hours of Saturday. (Photo by Priyojit Meitei). (Right) Remnants of the destroyed market. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUN 18 (NPN):
Published on 19 Jun. 2011 12:48 AM IST
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In another major devastating fire incident, more than 150 shops and other business establishments were razed to the ground and properties worth crores of rupees were damaged when fire broke out at the Sokhriezie T-Khel Market (BOC Market) in the wee hours of Saturday.
Surprisingly, the Market site is located just a few yards away, below the front side of the headquarters of the Fire Station. Also, the market site is situated just at the edge of a water pond. However, the Fire tenders and fire fighters had to battle the fire for over five hours and not without the help of volunteers including Assam Rifles who brought a fire tender before bringing the raging inferno under control at around 5.30 am.
It was also learnt that an irate mob who had gathered at the site while the market was on fire, attempted to assault the firemen. They smashed the windshield of a stationary fire tender which developed a technical problem in its water pump.
OC, Fire Station, Insp. Y. Ayuba and Duty Officer, ASI Thepfukranyü Kar while talking to media persons said fire was first detected at 12.15 am by the duty officer himself and the alert firemen on duty. They then swung into action by trying to alert those supposed to be within the market premises. However, not only were all the shops securely locked when fire broke out, they said that nobody was also within the market premises when fire broke out.
The officer on duty also said that fire was suspected to have been caused by electrical short circuit. Fire was first detected in a building above the leather shops that were at the lower part of the ground floor.
Though, the fire was detected on time by the fire service personnel on duty, yet the officer claimed that the fire fighting was hampered since the doors of shops were locked and that the entire market stalls were made of both CGI sheet and plastic roofing besides containing highly inflammable materials. In addition, he said the fire became more furious after at least five gas cylinders burst.
The thirteen fire service personnel on duty along with two fire tenders were pressed into service while other firemen on off duty were also pressed into service.
When water in the two fire tenders were exhausted, the third was called into service and only by that time, people living nearby also gathered around the place of incident.
It was revealed, that the firemen attempted to use water pump to pump out water from the pond nearby through two channels to be directed to the fire to save time. However, when the water pump developed technical snag, the crowd became angry and directed their ire against the firemen and chased them away. The commotion only added to the delay by several minutes in dousing the fire.
While police officers maintained that they received information about the fire at around 12.30 a.m., leaders of T-Khel Kohima village and public contradicted it by asserting that the fire actually broke out at around 11 a.m. They said the matter was reported to the fire station by around 11.30 a.m. but that it took a long time before there was any response.
Some of the public also claimed that when the fire was at its fury, firemen attempted to use a water pump to spray water directly to the fire but were only to discover that there was no fuel in the pump.
It was also informed that at least two personnel of the fire and emergency services identified as driver Kevideho Angami and fireman S.Banglau Phom received minor injuries during the process of fire fighting and were later given medical treatment.
On receiving information about the fire incident, MLA and Chairman NKVIB Dr. Nicky was perhaps among the first to reach the spot and began monitoring the situation.
It may be mentioned that Saturday’s fire incident was 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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