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By A Newsman

Howrah, 01 October: WITH only six days left for the Durga Puja, some 100-odd traders at Kadamtala bazar in Howrah have lost everything to a devastating fire. A trader has also suffered burns in the incident.

The situation is so gloomy that it is unlikely for the affected traders to be able to restart businesses at least for a week, even if they get financial and material support from others. This is because it will take time for the debris to be cleared so to pave way for some makeshift arrangements.

According to the affected traders, the fire broke out around 04.30 in the morning when the neighbourhood was yet to get up from sleep. The fire started from a shop selling spices and soon spread to the entire Kadamtala bazar which is made up of a mix of tin, wood, bamboo, and concrete structures.

Even before people from the neighbourhood and a handful of traders who slept in their shops could get into dousing the fire, raging flames engulfed one after another shop that stood should to should in the congested business hub.

People tried to contain the flames by drawing water from the water tanks in neighbourhood high-rises even as they sent in a SOS to the Howrah fire service station. But the presence of tin sheds, wood, bamboo, and other inflammable items in the shop rendered the effort futile.

Initially three fire tenders rushed to the spot, but with the fire growing out of control, seven more fire tenders later joined in. The 10 fire tenders took it nearly four hours to douse the flames. By then almost the entire market with over 100 shops had been reduced into ashes with only burned tin roofs of the shops lying all over the area.

A trader, Sunil Pal, who was asleep in one of the shops when the fire broke out, suffered burns in the incident. He is now admitted to the Howrah State General Hospital.