TODAY -
Ukhrul inferno reduces 45 shops to cinders
Source: The Sangai Express

Ukhrul, March 09 2009: At least 45 shops were razed to the ground while 73 other structures including residential buildings were damaged when a ravaging fire broke out at Wino bazar in Ukhrul district headquarters today at about 12.20 pm.

Talking to reporters, who rushed to Ukhrul from Imphal on receiving the news of the devastating fire, local people there said that the fire may have started from a tea hotel.

With the flames rising up to about 5 metres, the inferno spread from one shop to another to engulf the entire locality in no time.

Fire Brigade personnel arrived at the scene at about 12.45 pm, but by then the fire had spread all over the place and there was nothing much that they could do.

Local people expressed dissatisfaction against the Fire Brigade, contending that the fire tender was not filled to capacity with water.

With the fire promoting a strong gale, the inferno spread from one shop to another in no time.

Amid the din and noise, sound of LPG cylinders exploding could also be heard audibly.

Ukhrul town literally was paralysed for about 4 hours during which the Fire Brigade men assisted by Assam Rifles, Manipur police and the local people fought the fire.

Young boys and girls could be seen coming out with buckets of water to contribute their mite.

Brigadier S Mander, the DIG B Range of the Assam Rifles personally oversaw the rescue work.

In a statement, PRO of Assam Rifles said that 10 Sector provided 13-15 water browsers, fire fighting equipment, recovery vehicles and JCB to help in fighting the fire.

Four AR columns were placed for opertion.

The 10 Sector has also provided tentage as shelter for the displaced persons and opened a lungar to provide food to over 400 people.

Generators have also been placed to provide electricity and a medical camp has also been planned, added the PRO.

The Fire Brigade personnel pressed one fire tender into service and were assisted by the 17 Assam Rifles who rushed in with three water tankers, police and MR with one tanker each.

The AR men fought the fire from the northern side while the Fire Brigade, police and the public did the same from the western side.

A fire tender was also rushed to Ukhrul from Imphal.

The fire was finally brought under control at about 4 pm.

Most of the shops which were razed to the ground were made of timber and even RCC buildings were not spared as all goods and furniture kept inside the houses were reduced to ashes.

The fire also claimed one machine and an engine put up at the Airtel Tower in Wino bazar.

Fortunately there is no report of any human casualty in the fire.

The district administration has chipped in to help those whose houses and shops have been ravaged in the fire by opening a relief camp at the Town Hall, while the Tangkhul Naga Long too has opened a relief camp at its Assembly Hall.

Assam Rifles also pitched in with food for the affected people.

Speaking to the reporters, vice president of Tangkhul Naga Long Yangmasho Raising drew the attention of the Chief Minister to the suffering of the affected people and added that a team of TNL will meet the Deputy Commission to discuss the help that may be provided to them.

He further said that the Ukhrul Fire Brigade has only one fire tender and added that it came 20 minutes after the matter was reported.

Moreover the fire tender was not filled to its full capacity, he said and added that the Firemen had to go back again to get water which led to loss of precious time.

The losses incurred in the fire are yet to be officially worked out.


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