KOLKATA, INDIA — Indians woke up Feb. 27 to news of a devastating blaze in a wholesale plastic products market in central Kolkata that killed at least 20 people.
According to local news reports, fire investigators believe the source could be an old refrigerator or an electrical short circuit.
Thick black smoke from the pre-dawn fire swirled through two floors of a six-story building, suffocating shop workers and laborers sleeping in the corridors. The small shops had been stacked high with plastic and paper foodservice products and items used in weddings and festivals. The building housed 80 shops.
The building had no fire-fighting equipment and only one exit — a staircase that was filled with smoke.
The state government blamed the previous administration for the tragedy.