Jubbal/Shimla – A calamitous fire tore through the Praunthi village in Jubbal, Shimla, last night, leaving devastation in its wake. The inferno, which erupted at approximately 1 AM, mercilessly engulfed the homes of nine families, reducing over 70 rooms to ashes. Miraculously, there were no casualties as the residents managed to evacuate in the nick of time, rescuing both themselves and their livestock.

The source of the conflagration has been traced back to the explosion of a gas cylinder in one of the houses, rapidly spreading to neighbouring residences. Despite the prompt response from the Jubbal Fire Station, fire vehicles from Kotkhai, Rohru, and Chirgaon fire stations, the flames raged uncontrollably for seven long hours.

Tragically, by the time the firefighting units arrived, a substantial portion of the houses had already succumbed to the flames, leaving many residents helpless in salvaging their possessions. Some family members, residing in Shimla at the time, were unable to reach their homes in time to rescue their belongings.

The firefighting efforts finally succeeded in bringing the blaze under control at around 7 AM on Monday, but smoke continues to billow from the affected area, a haunting reminder of the night’s devastation.

Local authorities are now engaged in assessing the magnitude of the destruction wrought by the fire. The community, shaken by the incident, is rallying together to support those affected, with relief efforts underway to help the families rebuild their lives.

This incident sheds light on the recurring challenge of fire outbreaks in the region, particularly during the winter months. Every year, such incidents are reported in Himachal, exacerbated by the difficulties faced by fire stations in reaching remote areas with narrow and challenging roads. Emergency water storage also poses a significant hurdle, hindering the prompt refilling of fire tenders during such crises.

The need for comprehensive planning and measures to prevent and address fire incidents in the region is evident. Authorities are urged to take immediate action, including the establishment of more fire stations, strategic placement of fire tenders, and the development of emergency water storage capacity. This proactive approach is crucial not only for mitigating house fires but also for safeguarding the precious forest wealth of the state, as forest fires remain a recurring threat each year.