Fire Strikes Dal Lake Houseboats, 3 Bangladeshi Tourists Killed

In a morning fire in the Dal Lake, several houseboats and residential houses in the vicinity succumbed to the calamituous mishap
Local surveying the damage after fire
Local surveying the damage after fire@UmarGanie1/twitter

Dal Lake witnessed a devastating incident for the second time since 2022 as multiple houseboats and residential structures succumbed to a catastrophic fire in the early hours of Saturday, November 11.

Fire erupting in the houseboats and residences
Fire erupting in the houseboats and residences@Kashmirnews22/twitter

Police officials reported that a fire broke out in one of the houseboats due to a malfunction in the heating appliance. The flames spread quickly and engulfed seven residential huts and neighbouring houses, including houseboats such as Safeena, Sabreena, Young Gulshan, Lala Rukh, and Khar Palace.

"The area where the fire took place has no real fire room or shafts in between the houseboats and the huts; the wood is so old and inflammable that any spark could light a fire," said Altaf Chapri, the founder and managing director of AB Chapri Retreats.

The fire, which caused extensive damage, resulted in the loss of lives of three Bangladeshi tourists who tragically lost their lives. The victims' bodies were extracted from the debris and are undergoing DNA investigation for identification before being returned to their respective families.

An official has confirmed that a fire broke out near Ghat number 9 of Dal Lake around 5:15 am. In response, fire service officials arrived at the scene quickly and initiated a rescue operation.

This incident happened during Kashmir's tourism season when staying in houseboats is a popular activity in the region. Unfortunately, the timing of the fire raises concerns about its potential impact on upcoming tourist activities.

Houseboats ablaze in the fire
Houseboats ablaze in the fire@alfaaz_thewords/twitter

After assessing the damage, the authorities have extended their condolences to the families affected by the incident. They have also called for quick permissions and a timely supply of timber for the reconstruction of the burnt houseboats. The victims will receive assistance from higher officials to facilitate the rebuilding process and support them through this difficult time.

Meanwhile, Chapri expressed concern over people's investments in the houseboats and huts that were engulfed in fire and stated that, indeed, it is a testing time for all the people out there. "The Committee for House Boats is already on the move and doing all they can to ensure the well-being of the victims and the security of the businesses hampered in the tragedy," he added.

Furthermore, recently, Kashmir was also hit by varying weather conditions, which added to the challenges faced by the region. While the higher reaches received snowfall, the plains were lashed by rain, which led to the closure of national highways connecting the valley with the rest of the country.

(With inputs from PTI)

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