Seven people were killed in a huge fire that broke out in an office building in central Kolkata’s Strand Road on Monday evening.
Among the dead are four firemen, a police officer, a Railways officer and a security person, officials said.
Two others are missing.
Five of the seven bodies were found in an elevator on the 12th floor. The victims appeared to have suffocated and burnt to death inside the lift.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the spot at around 11 pm.
Earlier in the evening, immediately after the fire broke out at 6.30 pm, the fire minister, the urban affairs minister and police officers rushed to the spot. At least 25 fire engines were deployed to put out the blaze that began on the 13th floor.
“Seven people are dead. The police commissioner says two more may be missing. The tragedy took place because the elevator was used during the fire. We will give Rs 10 lakh to the families of those killed,” Ms Banerjee said.
“This is a railways property. Railways has a responsibility. Railways was unable to provide a map of the building. I don’t want to do politics over the tragedy but no one from the railways has come to the site,” she added.
The fire started on the 13th floor of the New Koilaghat Building, an office building shared by the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway, next to the Hooghly River on Strand road.
The building houses railway ticketing offices, and as per reports, online bookings have been hit with the power being switched off.
Fire Minister Sujit Bose said he was “pained” by the incident and an inquiry will be ordered into why the elevator was used.
“The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is not to use elevators in case of a fire,” he said.