Blaze Wipes Out Gurez Village18 December 2010
Srinagar: Nearly 70 structures, including 50 residential houses, were gutted in separate devastating fires in Gurez and Handwara on Friday night, leaving hundreds of villagers homeless in the depth of winter. A fierce blaze swept through the Khardan village in the Tulail area of the remote Gurez region last night, engulfing the entire locality in flames in no time and driving people into the open in the bitter cold in a bid to save their lives, reports said. The mud-and-timber neighbourhood near the Line of Control some 125 km from Srinagar was consumed by flames within moments, and forty houses were destroyed before the nearest fire-fighters arrived on the scene. Relief operations began this morning for the assistance of the hundreds of people made homeless by the blaze, and the locals have appealed to the government for shelter, rations and blankets to save them from the severe winter cold. Another major fire broke out in the Tarathpora village in the Wilgam area of Handwara in north Kashmir last night gutting ten more residential houses. The fire was said to have broken out from the house of one Ghulam Muhammad Rathar and spread rapidly in the neighbourhood gutting nine more houses within no time. Fire services from several nearby areas reached the scene to put the blaze out, but locals said that they did not have sufficient water for the operation and their own reserves had tried up, ;eading to massive losses. The district administration has ordered the revenue department to assess the losses suffered by the villagers, and the deputy commissioner who toured the scene announced a relief of Rs 35,000 per family besides blankets and rations for the assistance of the fire victims.