NEW DELHI: Nine people including five firefighters and a policeman were killed in a devastating fire in an office building of railways in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, officials said Tuesday.
The fire broke out Monday evening inside the Eastern Railways Strand road office in Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. The building houses railway ticketing offices, reported Xinhua news agency.
According to officials, seven bodies were found in an elevator, and two others in another one.
“Nearly all the bodies were lying inside the elevator. They had used the elevator to climb up. As the floor was on fire and it was hot, the moment the elevator door opened, they got charred,” Sujit Bose, state fire minister told media.
Preliminary investigations suggested the victims appeared to have suffocated and been burnt to death inside the lift.
A statement issued by India’s federal railway minister Piyush Goyal said he salutes the bravery of three railway personnel and those who laid down their lives to stop the fire.
The federal railway minister has ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the incident and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Officials said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the spot on Monday evening after the accident happened.
The fire broke out at 6.30 pm local time on Monday inside the 13th floor, following which at least 25 fire engines were rushed to the spot to contain the blaze.
Officials said it took nearly 11 hours to bring the fire under control and the firefighting operations were underway until 5 am local time on Tuesday.