Two officials have been suspended by the Arunachal government for alleged dereliction of duty during a fire incident that ravaged 700 shops in a market, said an official statement on Wednesday.
The fire broke out at Naharlagun daily market on Tuesday morning. Shopkeepers claimed that they rushed to an adjacent fire station after spotting the blaze but no personnel was there, PTI reported.
They also alleged that the fire brigade personnel arrived at the spot with fire tenders that were not filled with adequate water. A preliminary inquiry revealed that the officer in charge and the staffer in charge of the night duty of the Naharlagun fire station failed to discharge their duties effectively, according to a statement issued by the directorate of fire and emergency services.
The suspension order for the two fire services personnel was issued and a fact-finding exercise is underway, it said.
The market, the oldest in the state, is situated near the fire station and Naharlagun police station, around 14 km from Arunachal Pradesh's capital Itanagar. There was no casualty in the fire that was first spotted around 4 am on Tuesday, they said. Superintendent of Police (Capital) Jimmy Chiram said the exact cause of the fire would be ascertained after completion of an investigation by the fire department.
Four fire tenders from Naharlagun and Itanagar along with adequate personnel were engaged in the operation, the official said. Firefighters had faced difficulties due to lack of water-filling facilities at Naharlagun, and the fire tenders were refilled from Lekhi Iron factory, situated around five kilometres from the incident site, according to the statement.
"The state government has approved two borewells for the fire station and work is likely to start soon," it said. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has assured shopkeepers that all possible support from the state government would be extended to those who suffered losses due to the fire at the market.