A major fire that broke out in the Mapusa market early Monday morning destroyed 16 shops and goods stocked therein causing a loss estimated to be around Rs 1 crore.
It took 25 firefighters and six fire tenders nearly six hours to extinguish the fire and they saved goods worth around Rs 5 crore.
Narrow road leading to the site hampered the operations as the fire tenders could not arrive at the site immediately. Besides the three fire tenders from Mapusa, two from Panjim and one each from Pernem and Bicholim were pressed into service to control the fire.
As the shops were locked, firemen had to break open the doors to save the goods stocked in them.
This being the Christmas season, shopkeepers had stocked additional goods to meet the demand and that was destroyed in the fire at the 16 shops.
The shopkeepers who lost property in the fire were Gurudas Gadekar (fireworks, grocery), Abdul Sheikh (garments), Ankush Parsekar (garments), Azam Textile (readymade garments), Martin Enterprises (garments), Arvind Raul, Sanju Kurtiker (general stores), Nadir (fruit vendor), Akbar (fruit vendor), Hazmal (fruit vendor), Gajanan Arolker (general stores), Mahesh Dhargalker (general stores), Ravindra Kamat (general stores),Damodar Tivrekar (garments), Yeshwant Bondre (general stores) and Sameer Adam (garments).
Mapusa Merchants Association President Yeshwant Gaudalkar while pointing out that there have been at least six fire incidents in the market in recent times, has demanded that fire hydrants be erected in the market itself.
Incidentally, the Mapusa Municipal Council has installed seven fire hydrants in the market, however as they are not connected to the main water supply line, they could not be used to battle the fire on Monday.
Mapusa Municipal Council Chairperson Sudhir Kandolker clarified that the PWD has failed to connect the hydrants to the main water supply lines and the council should not be held responsible for it.
He pointed out that all the shop owners whose establishments were gutted in the fire had been asked to shift to the new premises in the fish market and they had opted to do so after Christmas.
Meanwhile, the fire services have asked the Electricity Department to check if a short circuit was the cause of the fire.