India

India market in Calcutta gutted in a fire

Indian firefighters work to extinguish a fire as smoke billows from a market building in Kolkata, India, Thursday, March 22, 2012.
Image caption Hatibagan market is one of the oldest in Calcutta

A massive fire has swept through one of the oldest markets in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta, destroying most of its shops.

No casualties have been reported in the blaze at the Hatibagan market, which broke out early on Thursday, police said.

Some people who were trapped inside the burning market have been rescued by the fire brigade, reports said.

Last December, some 90 people died in a blaze at a hospital in Calcutta.

The police said 30 fire engines fought the blaze at the market located in the north of the city for over four hours before bringing it under control.

Scores of shops selling meat, fish, fruits and vegetables were gutted.

The cause of the blaze is unknown and investigators are looking for clues at the site.

"This is a conspiracy. Somebody set this market on fire," a shopowner told a TV channel.

Correspondents say Calcutta appears to be emerging as India's fire capital.

In 2010, 43 people died in a fire at the historic St Stephen's Court building on the city's Park Street.

In 2008 more than 2,500 shops were destroyed in a huge fire at one of the city's largest markets.

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