19 people killed in blaze in Indian city of Kolkata

A fire has swept through a six-storey building housing illegal shops in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, killing 19 people.

A total of 38 people who were sleeping in the building when the blaze broke out were rescued.

Hundreds of firefighters gathered at the scene of the blaze at the Surya Sen market, where poorly maintained buildings are vulnerable to fires.

The unlicensed shops in the building were selling plastics, papers, and foam products which created black smoke that impeded rescue efforts.

Firefighters said it was too early to pinpoint the cause of the blaze

But short-circuits caused by old and faulty wiring are frequently the source of the fires.

The chief minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, visited the scene of the fire.

She expressed regret at the flouting of fire regulations in the densely populated city of 14 million.