The storehouse of long-closed Calico Cotton Mill in Pabna lies ravaged following a 'mysterious' fire early yesterday. Inset, partially burnt documents recovered from the debris by fire fighters. Photo: STAR
A 'mysterious' fire at long-closed Calico Cotton Mill in Pabna early yesterday damaged valuable machinery, cotton and official documents.
According to the fire brigade sources, the estimated loss would be about Tk 3.5 lakh while goods worth Tk 7.6 lakh was recovered from the spot.
Other sources, however, said the amount of damaged goods would be about Tk 15 to 20 lakh.
“The fire originated at about 2:05am on Sunday. After fighting for four hours, two fire units brought the fire under control,” said Md Anwarul Haque, station officer of Pabna fire brigade.
As this correspondent visited the spot and talked with different people, several sources termed the fire 'mysterious'.
“There was no electricity connection in the closed storehouse of Calico Cotton Mill. We guess that somebody had set the fire to hide the acts of stealing valuables from there,” said Md Aminul Islam, senior principal officer of Agrani Bank, Pabna branch.
Faced with huge losses, Pabna Calico Cotton Mill, one of the largest ones in the country, closed in the 90s and charge of the mill including its machinery and cotton was handed over to Agrani Bank, Pabna branch due to loan default.
Although an Ansar team was deployed to ensure security of the closed mill, valuable things from there have been stolen during the long period, sources said.
Seven Ansar members are now engaged as security guard in Calico Cotton Mill.
“The fire might be result of a conspiracy as criminals with the connivance of the security in charge had stolen many valuable things from the mill. Important papers on all the documents of the mill were kept in the storeroom. But everything was damaged, said a former mechanical worker of the mill.
A few sources also hinted at complicity of a section of bank officials in shifting of valuable things from the mill and yesterday's arson.
Version of the high officials of Agrani Bank was not available as of filing this report.
“Question arises as there was no electricity connection with the storeroom that was closed. We guess that somebody from outside set the fire. When we asked the on-duty security guards [Ansars] they told about a huge sound. We are investigating the matter,” said Md Matiur Rahman, officer in charge of Pabna Police Station.
Left without proper maintenance for long, valuable things including the infrastructure of Calico Cotton Mill were already getting damaged, sources said.