Srinagar: Dozens of shops and warehouses were gutted in a devastating fire on Wednesday in the main market in Uri sector of North Kashmir's Baramulla district, said Fire and Emergency Services.
"Two old buildings, mostly made of wood and housing about 30 shops and 15 godowns, were gutted in a major blaze in the wee hours today," said Divisional Fire Officer Abdul Khaliq.
Khaliq, who supervised the operation, said the fire was noticed around 2.15 am in one of the buildings in the main market, 101 kilometers from Uri on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.
"We immediately pressed into service the fire tenders from Uri, Baramulla, Sangrama and Sopore stations and the blaze was doused after nearly two hours of an intense fire fighting operation," he said.
The officer said due to the wooden structure, and presence of kerosene and gas cylinders inside some shops, the fire spread fast. Lauding his men for the job, Khaliq said timely action by the department restricted the fire and did not allow it to spread to adjoining structures despite fast blowing wind.
The police is investigating the cause of the fire, he said.
"Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire was noticed at three different locations within the buildings. Accordingly, we have asked police to investigate the cause of the fire," he said.
According to the officer, the estimated loss due to the blaze is around Rs 40 lakh. A police spokesman said a private vehicle was also partially damaged in the blaze.
Local residents, however, claimed that fire could have been controlled faster, if the fire station had more fire tenders.
"There is only one fire tender at the Uri fire station which could not put out the blaze as most of the structures were made of wood," they said.