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Army called in to battle wholesale market inferno in India

Authorities in the eastern Indian ciy of Kolkata yesterday called in the army to control an inferno raging in the country's largest wholesale market, officials said.Some 4,000 shops have been gutted since the fire erupted early Saturday in Kolkata's Borro Bazaar, which draws retailers from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.City police chief Gautam Chakraborty said soldiers with specialised gear entered a 12-story complex in the sprawling market after the burning building tilted due to tremendous heat."The building has leaned a little to its left and there is fear that a part of it may crumble," Chakraborty told reporters, while billowing smoke from the inferno could be seen several kilometres (miles) away."With so much heat generated by the fire, the entire building may collapse," said Pratim Chatterjee, fire services minister of West Bengal state, of which Kolkata is the capital.More than a dozen firemen have been injured and the fire has destroyed property worth two billion rupees (50 million dollars) in the 18th-century market, according to separate estimates.Authorities were investigating the cause of the blaze.

Angry shop owners meanwhile accused the city's fire department of failing to control the fire when it erupted.