A day after 40 shops were gutted in a devastating fire incident in this frontier town, Police on Monday ruled any sabotage saying that fire erupted "most probably due to short circuit."
Pertinently, property worth crores was destroyed in the fire incident at Iqbal Market here, last evening.
The fire was controlled after two hours of hectic efforts by the personnel of Fire and Emergency Department, police, locals and army.
The fire, according police, erupted in first floor of a grocery shop that engulfed two buildings, which resulted in gutting down of five chemist shops, four clinical laboratories and 30 grocery shops.
The fire, according to locals, was first detected by a police guard, stationed 100 meters away from the building. The police guard informed Kupwara Police Control Room, which subsequently informed Fire and Emergency Department for quick reaction.
More than a dozen fire tenders from Kupwara, Handwara, Trehgam, Kralpora and Lolab arrived at the spot to extinguish the blaze. "The building that caught fire was 70 percent wooden. It took a few minutes for fire to spread to other buildings," a shopkeeper, told Greater Kashmir. "It took more than three hours to put off the fire."
"Nobody can say who set the market ablaze. Our experience says that such blazes erupt inadvertently as it has happened in the past also," he added.
Care taker, President, Kupwara, Bazar Association, Hafizullah Bakshi said that nothing can be said how fire erupted. "We can't say how fire erupted. Only police investigation can reveal the truth," Bakshi said.
Bakshi said: "From last four months, we have not kept any guard to maintain vigil around the market during the night," he added.
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Kupwara, Shamsher Hussain, said that fire erupted "most probably due to short circuit." "There has been no sabotage at all," the SSP said. "We have lodged a report and after investigations an FIR will be registered."
The SSP said that some of the shopkeepers were successful even in emptying their shops, which later caught fire.
A senior Revenue official said that loss is assed. "We have constituted a team and loss is being assessed," the official said. "Preliminary assessment reveals that loss is in crores," he added.