Documentary

Inferno – Kolkata Bagree Market Fire

© Debarshi Mukherjee
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Inferno – Kolkata Bagree Market Fire
India

Fight with the Flames

INFERNO!!

A major fire broke out at Kolkata’s Bagree Market, which is presumably the largest wholesale market in India. Around 35 fire engines battled for over 55+ hours to bring the fire under control. The fire which broke out around 2.30 am on 16th Sept, 2018 started from the ground floor and rapidly spread to the upper floors due to a huge stock of inflammable items. Luckily no casualties were reported.


Inferno from the Top

On 18th Sept, 2018 after a tough 60-hour operation, the fire at Bagree market was finally arrested. Meanwhile, cases were lodged against two directors and the CEO of Bagree Estate Private Limited. All three accused are absconding. It was the joint efforts from firefighters and disaster management teams that helped to cool things down in the building, when the news was reported.

Safety from the fumes

Immense carelessness and violation of all sorts of fire and emergency related norms by the concerned authority, led to such an unanticipated incident. As a result, even upon immediate action by the firefighters and disaster management teams, the fire only came under control after 60 hours of inception.  It is no surprise that such unfortunate news rocks the city time and again. Multiple cases have been filed under reasons related to fire safety and maintenance of building; criminal conspiracy to commit an offence; and mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house etc. Several times they had to employ gas masks to prevent any form of inhalation of harmful fumes.


Fighting it Out

Desperate Attempts


At the end of the operation, one or two small pockets of fire remained, but with no possibility of spreading anymore. Credit goes to the teams who handled the critical situation as not only was the building stockpiled with highly-flammable goods, but the locked gates, grills, obstructions made the job even tougher. To add to their difficulty was the congested area which barred access to multiple fire engines at the same time.

Though the shop owners had been charged large sums of money by the market management regarding maintenance arrangements and to prevent as well as control any accidental fire, but that was never really implemented.

Stairway to Hell


Inside story

Large portions of concrete were seen peeling off the walls and ceilings of the building. Some locals were also heard saying that the building had developed deep cracks. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation teams were seen removing the charred remnants of goods and plastic materials. While this happened, several traders were seen salvaging whatever they could from the charred leftovers.


Charred Remains

Despite, the dilapidated condition of the building, none were in favor of tearing down the market, especially businessmen and traders. They believed that the market was strong enough to endure such fires, but they also agreed that it needs major repair work. First and foremost the fire needs to be extinguished, then the removal of garbage and residues. Only then it would be clear to what extent repair work is needed.

But the million dollar question is where the feed money will come from for all the repairs. Traders, businessmen and people in general have lost everything. Some had also stocked up goods for the upcoming festive season of Pujas and loaned money to this regard amounting to crores.

We can only hope and pray that the market and the businesses of the traders recover soon enough, before the fire safety norms of another building is flouted at the cost and scorn of human lives or crores of rupees of goods for that matter.

Burnt building


In search of Life


Men on Mission


Searchlight saga

Debarshi Mukherjee
Debarshi Mukherjee (b. (1984), an Indian born photographer, has been associated in the field of photography for the last 3-4 years. He was recently acknowledged with Artiste FIAP distinction and BEPSS distinction for his photographic achievements. He is a member of the “Federation of Indian Photography”, the national photography body in India.
Within a short span of time his photographic efforts have been recognized globally in 30 + countries like India, Serbia, UK, Singapore, Romania, Scotland, Wales, Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, Hong Kong, Austria, Ukraine,Czech Republic to name a few. He has received multiple awards and critical acclamation for his photographic works. His works have also been featured / published on various websites (like National Geographic YourShot, Dodho, 1X etc.) and print media in UK (N-Photo Magazine). Debarshi's photographs have been part of exhibition galleries in India and abroad. Earlier this year, his work was exhibited at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii. His photograph will also be a part of the exhibit at “The Weather Photographer of the Year 2017” in UK. He was also the state winner for a nation-wide photography contest, which received critical acclamation from the Limca Book of Records. He loves to explore genres of Human Interest, Photojournalism, Environment, Street and documentary styles.
By qualification he is a B. Tech & Masters in Energy Management. He works as a Sustainability Manager in an organization of high repute. But his heart and his passion lie with photography. He believes in capturing a slice of life in each of his photographs, which uphold the reality and beauty of the world that surrounds us.

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