5 killed, 43 injured in fire at Durga Puja Pandal in UP

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At least five persons were killed when a major fire broke out in a Durga Puja Pandal in which 67 people sustained burn injuries in Aurai area of the district here in Uttar Pradesh, official sources said here on Monday.

Taking note of the incident Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has appealed to the committees associated with religious events including Durga Puja to fully comply with the electrical and fire safety standards in the construction of puja pandals.

Sources said that while three persons died on Sunday night, two others died during treatment at the hospital on Monday, taking the toll to five. “The incident occurred late on Sunday night when the Pandal of Durga Puja being organised by Bal Ekta Club caught fire. As Aarti was being held a large number of people were present inside the Pandal,” they said.

Sources said that 67 people sustained burn injuries in the incident. “A rescue and relief work was launched immediately by the district administration and fire department and the injured were admitted to different hospitals in Aurai and Gyanpur,” they said.

Sources said that 43 people, who sustained serious burn injuries, were referred to Banaras Hindu University, where they were admitted to Sir Sunder Lal Hospital and Kabir Chaura Trauma Center. “Three persons, including Ankush Soni (12), Jaya Devi (45) and Naveen (10) died during treatment late on Sunday night,” they said.

Sources said that two more injured Aarti Devi (48) and Harshvardhan (8) died on Monday morning. “District Magistrate Gaurang Rathi, Superintendent of Police Dr Anil Kumar along with Divisional Commissioner Yogeshwar Ram and Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Varanasi zone Ram Kumar reached the spot and supervised the rescue and relief operation,” they said.

Sources said that the DM has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the incident. “The team which will be headed by Additional DM (Finance) has been asked to submit its clear and factual report within 4 to 5 hours,” they said.

According to preliminary inquiry done by the SIT it has been revealed that a halogen light caught fire after getting heated.

Meanwhile, an official spokesman said that the CM has directed the administration to interact with such organising committees and ensure compliance of electricity and fire safety norms. He said that incidents which have taken place in some puja pandals in recent times should be taken seriously.

Yogi said that for this it is necessary that an awareness programme should be conducted towards electricity and fire safety norms. He said that safety of the devotees coming to puja pandals should be the top priority.