At least 19 families were rendered homeless after a massive blazing fire engulfed the locality of Tandu Mohalla in Wadder Payeen of Handwara.
Around 32 structures were gutted in this devastating fire that broke out at around 9 pm on Wednesday. Within no time the fire spread to other houses and was uncontrollable said Ghulam Ahmed Mir whose two storey building completely destroyed in the fire.
“We returned from masjid and while having dinner, we heard shouts ‘get water, get water’. When we came out I saw our neighbouring house on fire. It spread so fast that we couldn’t even free our cattle from cow sheds”, said Mir with tears still rolling from his eyes.
The cause of the fire was not known to anyone. Nobody in the area had any idea how did all this happen. Ali Mohammed Mir Sarpanch of the area while refuting the reports of short circuit said there was no electricity in the area at the time of incident.
The actual estimate of loss is yet to be ascertained. However, there was no loss of human life in the incident. Some cattle were charred to death.
Eyewitnesses said that locals from nearby areas reached to the spot and started the rescue operation, carrying water in buckets and other utensils to douse the rising flames. However, their efforts failed to yield any results till the fire spread in the locality. Locals alleged that a minor fire incident engulfed the entire area as fire tenders failed to reach on time.
Locals claim that they do not have any fire service facility at Zachaldara. The fire tenders had to come from Handawara which is 14 kilometres away from the area.
“We called local police post in Zachaldara. Then the fire service station at Handwara. They took almost one and a half hour to reach here”, said Nazir ahmed Mir who lives in the nearby Mohalla.
Meanwhile DC Kupwara and SSP Handwara today visited the affected families and provided them with few tents. However, locals said that with sub zero temperatures prevailing in valley there is no use of tents.
Sajad Lone grieved over the incident
Rs 1 lakh each to be provided to the affected families out of State Disaster Response Fund and 50 thousand each from the Constituency Development Fund.
Minister for Social Welfare, ARI Trainings and Science and Technology Sajad Gani Lone today expressed grief over the fire incident at Wuddar Bala in Handwara during intervening night of 28 and 29 December, in which 19 residential houses and 15 cowsheds were gutted.
In a statement issued to media, Sajad Lone assured that all possible assistance will be provided from the government for their rehabilitation.
“Rs 1 lakh each would be provided to the affected families out of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF),” the statement while quoting Sajad Lone said.
Besides, the Minister also directed the district administration, Kupwara to assess loss of property. Instructing the district administration to provide immediate compensation to the affected families, the Minister also directed for distribution of blankets and eatable items from the Red Cross Fund among the affected families. The concerned office was instructed to provide tin sheets and ration to the affected families so that they may not suffer during harsh winter days.