Firemen, Cop Among 9 Dead In Kolkata Blaze, Mamata Banerjee Visits Spot

Kolkata Fire: Five of the nine bodies were found in an elevator on the 12th floor. The victims appeared to have suffocated and burnt to death inside the lift.

Kolkata Building Fire: The fire broke out at the New Koila Ghat Building on Strand Road.

Kolkata:

Nine people were killed in a huge fire that broke out in an office building in central Kolkata's Strand Road on Monday evening.

Among the dead are four firemen, a police officer, a Railways officer and a security person, officials said.

Five of the nine bodies were found in an elevator on the 12th floor. The victims appeared to have suffocated and burnt to death inside the lift.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed grief over the incident and ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Taking to Twitter, he said, "Sincere condolences to the families of the 9 brave deceased including the 4 firefighters, 2 Railways personnel and an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) who have been fighting the fire at the Eastern Railways Strand road office in Kolkata."

"Railway officials including the GM are at the site and are working in coordination with the State Govt for rescue and relief efforts. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure safety of all concerned," the minister said in another tweet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the incident and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.

"Saddened by the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest," the Prime Minister tweeted. President Ram Nath Kovind also condoled the deaths. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the spot at around 11 pm.

Earlier in the evening, immediately after the fire broke out at 6.30 pm, the fire and emergency services minister, the urban affairs minister and police officers rushed to the spot. At least 25 fire engines were deployed to put out the blaze that began on the 13th floor.

7mv1rt3g

The fire started at around 6:30 pm

"Seven people are dead. The police commissioner says two more may be missing. The tragedy took place because the elevator was used during the fire. We will give ₹ 10 lakh to the families of those killed," Ms Banerjee said.

"This is a railways property. Railways has a responsibility. Railways was unable to provide a map of the building. I don't want to do politics over the tragedy but no one from the railways has come to the site," she added.

The fire started on the 13th floor of the New Koilaghat  Building, an office building shared by the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway, next to the Hooghly River on Strand road.

The building houses railway ticketing offices, and as per reports, online bookings have been hit with the power being switched off.

Fire Minister Sujit Bose said he was "pained" by the incident and an inquiry will be ordered into why the elevator was used.