11 charred to death in various incidents of fire in Bihar


Patna,(BiharTimes): At least 11 people were charred to death, thousands of houses and shops were gutted and 100 acres of forest area destroyed in incidents of fire in about a dozen districts of Bihar on Friday. Patna, West Champaran, Samastipur and Munger reported casualties. Powerful wind as well as short-circuit are being blamed for the massive fires.

Reports quoting official sources said five members of a family were roasted alive at Dumahla locality in Gardanibagh area in Patna as a fire broke out in their hut early on Friday morning while they were sleeping. The fire is being attributed to short circuit.

They have been identified as Shambhu Prasad (50), his wife Mita Devi (45), son Vikas Kumar (8), daughter Nishu Kumari (5) and mother-in-law Shakuntla Devi (70).

Hours later a major fire broke out in the New Market under Kotwali police station near Patna junction railway station. The fire gutted at least 100 shops, many of them of cotton and related materials. Fire in this part of the state capital is a regular feature. Though it is situated in the heart of the city and behind the building of Hindustan Times, yet nothing much could be done to prevent the devastation.

Nine fire tenders and a foam extinguisher were pressed into service to douse the blaze. Luckily there was no casualty.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made an on the spot survey of the area.

In Misrauli village of West Champaran district fire claimed four lives––all of one family. The fire broke out in their house and spread to the locality reducing to ashes about 200 houses.

In another incident in the same district a wildfire gutted around 100 acres of forest area in Madanpur, Valmiki Nagar and Harnatand in the Valmiki Nagar Tiger Reserve (VTR).

According to VTR-I divisional forest officer Nand Kishore trains passing through VTR were stranded at different places as efforts were on to douse the flames.

In Samastipur district, two persons died after they were trapped in a fire in Chakwa village under Sarairanjan block. At least 30 thatched houses were gutted.

Reports from Munger said over 1,000 houses were destroyed in a blaze in Bahadur Nagar village and adjoining diara areas in in the district in which four villagers sustained burn injuries.

The standing wheat crop, spread over a 1.5 km area, was also destroyed in the fire.

In Araria, a fire broke out in Madanwa village gutting 60 houses and injuring two persons.

Official sources said incidents of fire were also reported from Begusarai, Madhubani, Saharsa, Khagaria, Bhagalpur and Saran districts in which over 500 houses have been gutted.

Disaster Management Minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha reviewed the situation and asked district magistrates to launch rescue and relief operations. The district authorities have also been directed to provide houses under the Indira Awas Yojana to those Below Poverty Level (BPL) people whose houses were gutted.

She said the kin of each of those killed would be given a compensation of Rs. two lakh.

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