For Sumita, an employee in one of the offices housed in Chatterjee International Building where a major fire broke out on Tuesday, the day will always be etched in her memory as she escaped from the clutches of death.
"I work in the 8th floor of the Chatterjee International Building. At around 8.30 AM, I heard some noise coming from the top floors. Along with some of the other employees when I went upstairs to see what was happening, we saw fire and smoke on the staircase leading to the 12th floor. We could still hear cries coming from that floor. But we couldn't help them.
We immediately came down," said Sumita. A major fire broke out this morning in the 24-floor landmark building in the heart of the city with fire personnel rescuing those trapped inside the high rise which houses many commercial establishments.
The fire is yet to be doused and 20 fire tenders along with four hydraulic ladders have been pressed into service. "I was working in my office located on the third floor and totally unaware of what was happening in the building. All of a sudden while surfing the television channels, we saw shots of the top floor of our building in flames. We immediately came down," said Arunima.
According to fire officials, the fire first broke out on the 12th floor and later spread to the 13th and 14th floors "Just like other days I was trying to set up my stall here. But as I was fixing the umbrella I saw clothes and papers being flung out of windows of the top floors and fire in one of the floors. I immediately rushed and informed the watchman about what I saw. The fire brigade had already been informed by then," said Banwari, a vendor of Park street area.
West Bengal Fire Services Minister Javed Khan told news persons that four persons who were trapped inside were rescued with a ladder and sent to hospital with smoke-related complaints."No one else is trapped inside the building," he told reporters while supervising fire tending operations at the building situated at the crossing of Park Street and Jawaharlal Nehru Road here.Some people who were in the second and third floors of the building were also evacuated, he said.