Fire Claims One As Storm Rages Outside


Kolkata: A sexagenarian who had fled a fire in his flat walked back into it and died while trying to save important documents that he feared would go up in flames.

The macabre death played out at upscale Saptaparni Apartments on Ballygunge Circular Road on Tuesday evening. Saptaparni Apartments is a cluster of seven towers and is located near St Lawrence High School. The tower where Bhattacharjee lived is a 14-storey one.

Swapan Bhattacharjee was found unconscious with severe burns in front of a washroom in his apartment after firefighters doused the flames. The victim, who had apparently moved into Saptaparni Apartments only a few months ago, lived alone and did not interact much with anyone, his neighbours said.

The fire in flat 44 D in the east wing of Saptaparni Apartments broke out sometime after 7pm. According to residents, a blast shook the building and triggered panic. Many hurriedly left their flast and exited the building to safety. Among them was 61-year-old Swapan Kumar Bhattacharjee, owner of the fourth floor apartment.

Even as Bhattacharjee was heading into the fire, other flat owners were rushing out to safety. That was the last Bhattcharjee was seen. According to firemen who retrieved his body, Bhattacharjee had walked in and then got trapped as the fire spread rapidly around him. He was taken to SSKM with burn injuries where he was declared dead.

The officer said investigators were trying to locate his family or relatives. The body will be sent for post-mortem on Wednesday. Then police said the fire was reported around 7.15pm and that four fire engines doused the flames by 8.25pm.

Firefighters found the main door to Bhattacharjee’s apartment open and the rooms filled with noxious fumes. He was taken to SSKM Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.