AT least five people were killed on Thursday in a major fire that engulfed a well-known saree shop here, police said. According to an official of Pune Police (Rural), the fire was reported at around 5 a.m. in the Rajyog Saree Centre, when the workers were asleep in a room above the shop located in the Devachi Urli area on the outskirts of the city.
The blaze quickly spread from the shop to the room above and the five workers sleeping there were suffocated to death, said investigating officer S.B. Bandkar. As per preliminary information, the shop was locked from the outside, virtually trapping the victims inside. The victims were identified as Rakesh Mahiwal, Dharmaram Badiyar, Sooraj Sharma, Dheeraj Chandak and Rakesh Vehar.
“We have summoned the shop owner and are investigating the matter from all angles before initiating action,” Bandkar told IANS. At least five fire tenders were deployed to battle the blaze, the cause of which remains unknown. Saree stocks worth several lakhs of rupees were reduced to ashes in the fire. After a battle of nearly four hours, the blaze was finally brought under control and cooling operations are underway. Bandkar added.