Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Indian city of Calcutta is hit by fire

The fire in Park Street
Nearly 100 firefighters and 25 fire engines fought the blaze

At least seven people have died in a huge fire in an old building in the Indian city of Calcutta's famous Park Street, fire service officials say.

At least 30 people were injured in the blaze - many when they were forced to jump off higher floors to escape.

The fire engulfed the six-storey Music World building adjacent to Flurys, Calcutta's well known confectionery.

The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says that fires in high rise buildings are fairly common in the city.

Our correspondent says that there have been at least 10 major incidents over the last two years.

Dense smoke

Thousands of people gathered in a busy section of Calcutta to watch fire fighters use ladders to rescue dozens of people trapped inside the 100-year-old office-and-apartment building.

Meanwhile dense smoke and fire billowed from the fourth floor upwards.

Police say that they are investigating the cause of the fire, which was believed to have started in a lift where a body was discovered.

Nearly 100 fire fighters and 25 fire engines spent several hours struggling to control the blaze.

Our correspondent says that firemen were initially handicapped by a lack of hydraulic ladders, which arrived some time after they reached the scene.

"The saving grace is that this is an old building and not very high," West Bengal Fire Service Minister Pratim Chattopadhyay said.

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