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Devastating fire at Frislana village: 50 structures gutted, 300 homeless
Property worth crores destroyed, 37 houses fully charred
SHABIR AHMAD
FRISLAN, PAHALGAM, Nov 25: Property worth crores of rupees was destroyed in a devastating fire last night in this small village in Pahalgam.

Atleast 37 houses, four cowsheds, seven cottages and three shops were razed to rubble in the inferno affecting at least 47 families. Besides dozens of cattle, horses and other domestic animals were charred to death.

Officials have put the assessment of loss at around Rs 10 crores. Cause of the fire has not been known yet. Locals said the fire broke out from a residential house of the locality at around 1 AM last night when everybody was fast asleep.

They said that the fire engulfed the neighbouring houses within no time. “The intensity of the blaze was so high that we could only watch our houses burning helplessly. Though the timely arrival of fire fighters prevented further damage to the property but by the time they reached, the blaze had turned the locality into ruins,” said the locals.

Eyewitnesses said that the fire could be controlled at around 9 AM in the morning.

With smoke all around, locals could be seen weeping and crying on seeing their houses raising to ground.

Giving details of the damage caused in the inferno, Tehsildar Pahalgam, Mohammad Yousuf Mir, said, “At least 37 residential houses, four cowsheds, seven cottages and three shops have got completely damaged. Besides 50 cattle, 10 horses and 10 other domestic animals including cows have been charred to death. The number of animals may be more as we are yet to remove the debris from the site of the destroyed houses and cowsheds.”

He put the assessment of the loss to the property at around Rs 10 crore. The deputy commissioner, Anantnag, Farooq Ahmad Shah, early in the morning reached the village and on spot distributed Rs 10,000 each among the affected families.

He also announced one residential hut to each affected family under Indra Awaz Yojna (IAY) and free ration for two months.

“We are on the job to provide relief to the affected families. We are distributing blankets, food, lights and tin sheets among the families affected. Besides some tents have also been erected for the night

accommodation of the people,” tehsildar said.

The relief operation launched by the district administration, army and Red Cross has also reached the spot to provide relief to the affected families. Reports said that army has erected at least 20

tents in the locality besides providing other food items and bedding to the affected people.

“Since all the affected people cannot be accommodated in the tents, we have arranged the accommodation for them in those houses which are safe,” said an official.

MLA Pahalgam, Rafi Ahmad Mir, MLC Bashir Ahmad Veeri, also visited the gutted village and expressed sympathy with the affected families. They demanded that immediate relief be provided to the affected people and steps be taken for the shelter soon.

Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident said he woke up from sleep on hearing the noise. “As I got up I saw neighbouring houses in flames. I immediately alarmed my other family members and we ran out of our houses without carrying our belonging,” he said.

Mushtaq said that most of the people were taken unaware by the fire as they were sleeping. “We started the fire fighting operation but it seemed too late,” he said.

Ghulam Nabi, another local said, the fire was noticed from a house and it immediately engulfed other houses. “Since it was mid-night, all the people were asleep. Most of the victims could not save their belongings. We are thankful to Allah that there was no loss of human lives,” he said.

Showkat Ahmad said that they have been devastated by the tragedy. “We have been rendered homeless. We have nowhere to go. The government relief is insufficient. We need immediate rehabilitation and relief as the winter has already set in,” he added.


News Updated at : Sunday, November 25, 2012
 
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