Fire at Kumbh kills 1, stampede toll 37

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    A 72-year-old businessman was killed in a fire that broke out at a camp in Kumbh Mela area in the early hours of Friday. At least three other persons were injured. With this, the total number of people having died due to burn injuries in fire incidents in the Kumbh Mela has gone up to at least eight.

    According to the Kumbh Mela police, the fire broke out in the camp of Mahanirvani akhara on Kali Marg in Sector-4, Kumbh Mela area, around 2 am. At least seven fire tenders were pressed into service.

    At least 10 tents were gutted and some motorcycles were also damaged in the fire. The fire was brought under control in about an hour.

    As a matter of precaution, the administration had cordoned off the affected area and also asked the occupants of the nearby camps to vacate their premises. With the akharas preparing for the shahi snan, most of the occupants were awake, which averted a major tragedy, officials said.

    "While most of the occupants in the tents managed to escape, a naga sadhu, identified as Mahavir from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, could not move out in time. Three other persons, including Santoshi Devi, wife of the deceased, were injured in the incident. Their injuries were not serious and they have been admitted at the Central Hospital of the Mela area itself," said a police official. Short circuit is believed to be the cause of fire, he added.

    Earlier, around 10 pm on Thursday, a few tents were gutted when fire spread from a havan kund in Sector-9. However, nobody was injured. So far, at least half-a-dozen major and minor fire incidents have been reported in the Mela area.

    On January 25, nearly 15 people were injured in a fire that had broken out in the camp of Mahant Kaushal Das Kishore in Sector-11. Out of them at least seven people have died.

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