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Kolkata: AS many 70 shanties have been reduced to ashes in a fire that broke out in a slum at Armenian Ghat off Burrabazar in Kolkata.

The location is very close to where the under-construction East-West Metro Corridor comes out of the under-river tunnel at Kolkata-end.

Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, a Central PSU, has been working at the site by cordoning off a portion of Armenian Ghat.

Residents of the locality said that the fire broke out around 12 noon in a chemical warehouse located in the area and spread to the slum in no time. None, however, has a clue as to how the fire started in the chemical warehouse.

The time of the day when the fire started, most of the slum dwellers stay out for various menial jobs that they do. It is only infirm women and minors who are generally at home during such hours.

As a result, most of the slum dwellers could not save anything from raging fire ~ be it food or apparel or whatever little savings they had. In all, 20 fire-tenders rushed to the spot one by one managed to arrest the fire around 3 pm. By then, the 70-odd shanties had been reduced into ashes.

The Circular Railway services, which run between Dum Dum airport and Majerhat via Strand Bank Road (Armenian Ghat, etc.),  were suspended due to the fire from 12 noon to 3.30 pm. This is because the fire spot was very close to the railway tracks and over-head power supply had to be disconnected to avert the fire spreading to new areas.