The fire which broke out at 9 pm on Tuesday night — half-an-hour after the workers had left the godown — was finally extinguished at 8 am on Wednesday. The department left one fire tender at the spot as a precuation as fumes were still coming out of the burnt fabrics.
The fire department dispatched 12 fire tenders from Ludhiana in addition to one each from Khanna, Phagwara and Samrala. Despite the large number of fire tenders, each vehicle had to fill up on water more than 20 times before the fire could be brought under control.
Meanwhile, the Punjab State Power Corporation shut off power supply to the area as a precautionary measure as a result of which fire brigade vehicles had to go to Chand Cinema and local bus stand to fill their vehicles with water.
Entry to the back of the building was also restriced due to narrow lane.
The godown and showroom are located in a four-storey building of which only the ground floor and basement could be saved.
The clothes were stocked in the upper three floors, which were made of synthetic fibres — a petroleum by product which catches fire fast — and packed in plastic.
onlookers say Fire brigades arrived late
There were allegations that fire brigade did not reach in time, but firemen stated that they went within minutes. Rather they stated that onlookers created hurdles in extinguishing fire as they were snatching water pipes from their hands thinking them more expert than the fire fighters.
No room for hydraulic stair
Though an hydraulic lift was need to deal with the fire, the staff categorically stated that the hydraulic stair would not work in congested areas like Sunder Nagar.
Aging fire staff
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has only 40 firemen of which more than half are above the age of 50 and14 will be retiring within a year. The firemen also stated that limited workforce also becomes a hurdle to extinguishing fires quickly. Though 120 posts of firemen had been okayed by local bodies, no recruitment has been done.