Death toll in Park Street fire rises to 24

Eight more bodies were recovered from the 150-year-old heritage building in upscale Park Street, raising the toll in the devastating fire that swept the building yesterday to 24, fire brigade sources said today.

Firefighters who began search operations last night from the top floor of the Stephen Court, housing restaurants, offices and residences, said the bodies were mainly recovered from the fifth and sixth floors of the seven-storeyed building.

Stating that the fire was completely under control although smoke was billowing out from one or two pockets, police said 20 of the injured were admitted to various hospitals.

So far six of the dead have been identified. Missing reports had been filed for 29 others, they said.

The sources said the search operations were continuing this morning but it was unlikely that there were any bodies trapped in the building.

A team of forensic experts will visit the spot to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the fire may have broken out due to a short circuit in a lift between the fifth and sixth floors.

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya had said the burnt portion of the building would be pulled down.

Anxious relatives thronged various city hospitals and were seen waiting in front of the morgue of the SSKM hospital to identify the bodies last night.

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