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Featured Image: The tea estate bungalow up in flames on Thursday afternoon. 

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 16 March: THE heritage bungalow at iconic Makaibari Tea Estate in Kurseong has been destroyed in a fire today afternoon.

The fire broke out in the bungalow occupied by Makaibari Tea Estate’s minority shareholder Rajah Banerjee and his family around 02.30 pm this afternoon.

At the time of the fire, a woman belonging to the management’s family, and a few maids were in the single-storey wooden structure. All of them managed to come out in time and thus were unhurt.

On being informed, three fire tenders rushed from the Kurseong fire service station, and contained the raging flames in about an hour. By then, the entire heritage bungalow, which is over a century old, had been reduced into ashes.

A senior staff of Makaibari Tea Estate named Kumar Rai said that there were several antique furniture and  artifacts  in the bungalow that have been engulfed by the fire.

The Banerjee’s, who founded Makaibari Tea Estate in 1859, have been living the bungalow for ages. Following a change of ownership, Rajah Banerjee now owns only 10 per cent stake in the iconic tea estate, and Luxmi Group owned by Dipankar Chaterjee is owns the remaining 90 per cent.

Police have begun a probe into the cause of the fire, although preliminary information suggested that the fire broke out due to an electrical short circuit.