27 killed in massive fire in four-storeyed commercial building in Delhi
New Delhi, May 13, 2022
At least 27 people perished in a massive fire that broke out in a four-storeyed commercial building in the Mundka area of West Delhi on Friday afternoon, official sources said.
As many as 25 fire tenders battled the flames for about seven hours before they were doused late in the night.
Fire tenders continued the cooling operations well past midnight and teams of the fire brigade and others searched through the building, especially the top floor, for survivors and victims.
Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain, who visited the scene of the tragedy late in the night, told journalists that at least 27 people had died in the blaze.
Earlier, a top official of the Fire Brigade had said that at least 26 bodies had been recovered from the building.
He said some people were still feared trapped on the third floor of the building, and Fire Department personnel were conducting a search for them.
Officials said the number of casualties was likely to go up.
According to varous sources, about a hundred people worked in the building, of whom about 60-70 people had been safely evacuated.
Several people who had suffered injuries had been taken to nearby hospitals.
Anxious relatives of those who worked in the building were waiting outside or at hospitals for some news about their loved ones.
Fire Department officials said they had received the first call about the fire in the building, located near Pillar No. 544 of the Delhi Metro in Mundka, after which ten fire tenders were rushed to the scene.
Later, another 15 fire tenders were sent to the spot to help put the flames out.
The building housed various offices. The first floor, where the fire is learnt to have started, had the office and warehouse of a company dealing in CCTV cameras.
Television pictures from the spot showed thick smoke billowing out of the building.
Fire brigade personnel were seen using ladders to reach to the maximum possible height to spray water on the flames.
Senior police officers also rushed to the scene and helped out in the rescue operations.
"Police officers broke the windows of the building and rescued many of those inside and they were rushed to the hospital," a police officer said.
While the cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained, it appeared from various accounts that it started on the first floor of the building and then spread to the other floors.
The police have detained the owners of the building and are checking to see if it complied with fire safety and other norms.
With only one staircase, which was filled with smoke, people inside the building had very few options for escaping the flames.
President Ram Nath Kovind condoled the loss of lives in the fire. "Distressed by the tragic fire accident at a building near Mundka Metro Station in Delhi. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish for speedy recovery of the injured," he said on Twitter.
"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Modi also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "Pained by the tragic loss of lives in the Delhi fire near Mundka Metro station. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured a speedy recovery."
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed his shock and pain over the tragedy and said he was constantly in touch with the officers concerned.
Several people, who were stuck inside the building were rescued through the AC window, while some others jumped out in desperation and were injured.
As per a rescue operation video accessed by IANS, people could be seen coming out from a window with the help of ropes and a fire fighters' ladder that was placed atop a truck to reach the height of the window.
A Fire Department official said that, in a bid to save themselves, some people jumped off the building when the fire broke out, and got injured. They were then immediately shifted to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital.