A camp office of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and 45 shops have been gutted in a massive fire in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, officials said today. The main market of Bhatyas in Bhalessa area was badly hit in the devastating blaze that broke out late last night. No one was injured in the midnight fire. However, property worth millions was reduced to ashes. Police said that around 12 AM, main market Bhatyas was caught in the fire.
Police and locals began dousing the flames, which was spreading rapidly in the market as all the adjoining shops and other structures were mostly made of dry Cedar and Pine wood.
“We informed the fire tenders at Thathri and Gandoh simultaneously as Bhatyas market is at the distance of 16 km from both the stations. The operation to extinguish the fire with the help of locals started at 12:30 AM,” said Sub-Divisional Police Officer Gandoh Sunny Gupta.
“The fire was controlled only at 5:30 AM in the morning, but by then, 45 structures were completely damaged,” he said. A camp office of the SSB was also gutted in the fire. No one was injured in the incident, the officer said.
“Police have started an investigation into the incident as this is the third major fire incident in as many months and foul play also could not be ruled out,” Gupta added. People alleged sabotage and demanded a high-level inquiry into the repeated fire incidents in Bhalesa area in which they claim properties worth crores have been damaged and hundreds of people left jobless.
On April 15, 26 Shops and eight residential houses were gutted in a similar midnight fire incident in Gandoh market, 16 km from Bhatyas and on February 10, four shops, two residential houses were damaged in another fire incident at Malikpura in Gandoh.