A massive fire swept through a factory in North Delhi's Anaj Mandi area on Rani Jhansi Road early on Sunday morning, 8 December, leaving at least 43 people dead and several injured.
Apart from firefighters, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has also reached the spot, where 64 people have been rescued so far, 21 of whom are said to be critical.
The authorities are still trying to identify the cause of the fire.
Kishore Singh, Medical Director at the Lok Nayak Hospital, where the injured are being treated, meawhile told news agency ANI that those injured are not critical, but have been kept under observation. Singh further told the news agency that most deaths were caused caused by smoke inhalation and suffocation.
While the deceased mostly consist of labourers, many others were injured in the fire, including two fire personnel, fire officials said, reported PTI. They also said that none of the units had a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department and the congested area made rescue operations difficult. Firefighters had to cut window grills to access the building.
CM Kejriwal, Manoj Tiwari Reach the Spot, Announce Compensation
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has reached the spot of the incident at Rani Jhansi Raod, soon after Delhi BJP Chief Manojr Tiwari.
Kejriwal announced that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered in the incident and that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the immediate families of those who lost their lives and Rs 1 lakh each to those injured will be given by the governemt.
“The expense of medical treatment of those injured to be borne by the government,” he said.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, meanwhile, announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for those injured from the BJP.
Distraught Relatives Throng Hospitals
At the three hospitals where the dead and injured were taken – RML, LNJP and Hindu Roa – distraught relatives had a hard time finding their family members. Twenty-three-year-old Manoj, a resident of Begusarai in Bihar, said his brother Naveen (18) was working in a handbag manufacturing unit operating from the premises.
“I got a call from his friend informing that he has been injured in the incident. I have no clue which hospital he has been taken to,” he said.
According to an unidentified elderly man whose three nephews were working in the factory, “At least 12-15 machines were installed in the unit. I have no idea about the factory owner.”
“My nephews, Mohammed Imran and Ikramuddin, were inside the factory. I don't know their whereabouts,” the man said.
Delhi Govt Orders Probe
Soon after Delhi minister Imran Hussain promised an investigation and action against those responsible, the Delhi government ordered a probe into the incident.
Announcing the investigation, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot said that the government has sought a report within seven days.
‘Extremely Horrific’: PM Modi, Delhi CM Kejriwal Take Notice
Reacting to the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said authorities are providing all possible assistance at the affected area.
The fire in Delhi’s Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road is extremely horrific. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wishing the injured a quick recovery. Authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 8, 2019
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called it a “very tragic news”, saying that the Delhi firefighters are doing their job, and that the injured are being taken to the hospital.
V v tragic news. Rescue operations going on. Firemen doing their best. Injured are being taken to hospitals. https://t.co/nWwoNB4u3Q— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 8, 2019
A call about the fire was received at 5:22 am, following which some 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
About 50 people trapped inside were rescued, most of whom were affected due to smoke, Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer of the Delhi Fire Service, told news agency ANI.
“Our team of doctors are attending to the injured,” Dr Kishore Kumar, the medical superintendent of the Lok Nayak Hospital, told ANI.
Earlier, Sunil Choudhary, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Delhi Fire Service, had told ANI that the fire has been doused and the rescue operations are underway.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)
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