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Major fire at Puri shopping complex, over 100 people rescued

A major fire broke out at a shopping complex in Odisha‘s Puri district, gutting almost all 40 shops, a police officer said. The blaze was first spotted at a garment store on the first floor of Laxmi Market Complex on Grand Road around 9 pm on Wednesday, he said.

Twelve fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the flames.

Three people, who were stuck on the roof of the building, were rescued in an unconscious state by the firefighters, the officer said.

The building, which is located close to the centuries-old Jagannath temple, also houses a hotel and a bank on two separate floors. Around 106 tourists from Nashik in Maharashtra were safely rescued from the hotel.

SK Upadhyay, the director general of fire service, said three personnel engaged in the firefighting operations fell ill in the midst of the heat and the smoke, and had to be taken to the hospital.

He also stated that the flames spread to nearby buildings, “despite best attempts to bring the blaze under control”.

Puri Sub-Collector Bhavataran Sahu said, “We are still unable to ascertain the cause of the fire.” According to the local police, an electrical short-circuit may have started the fire.

Meanwhile, Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi of the BJP claimed that the district administration has failed to ensure the installation of fire safety systems at the hotels and other establishments in the seaside town.

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