Two women and a teenager were killed in a massive fire at a two-storeyed hardware factory in Delhi on Saturday morning, police said. The blaze broke out around 9 am at the factory in Shahdara's Jhilmil Industrial Area, which houses several industrial units, and 31 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the Delhi Fire Services said.
The blaze started from the first floor of the building and engulfed the whole structure, the police said. According to the supervisor of the factory, Pradeep, around 60 workers were present inside the factory that usually opens at around 9 in the morning.
Cartons kept inside the factory, involved in manufacturing and packaging of taps, caught fire quickly and aided in the spread of the fire, he said. Pradeep said most of the workers managed to escape the factory. "But the three victims were present on the second floor and could not come downstairs as it was filled with smoke," he said.
A fire department official said five people were trapped on the second floor of the building and two of them survived. A fire personnel also sustained injuries during the rescue operation. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Meghna Yadav said two women -- Manju Devi (50), Sangeeta Devi (46) -- and a youth, Shoaib Ali (19) died in incident.
The victims may have died due to asphyxiation as there were no major burn injuries, the police said. Delhi Fire Services director Vipin Kental and Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg were also involved in the search operation, officials said, adding that a cooling operation was now underway.
Kejriwal said a probe would be conducted to ascertain the reason behind the incident and action would be taken against anyone not following fire norms. He announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased. An official said the factory did not have no-objection certificate from the fire department. It is located in a congested area with narrow lanes and only smaller vehicles were able to enter the lane, while the bigger ones were stationed a distance away.
The factory supervisor recalled that there was chaos when smoke was first seen by the workers. The second floor of the factory was the packing section. After packing the material, they used to be kept on the ground floor and some in the basement area for loading in the trucks, the supervisor said.
"We came here in the morning at around 9.30 for work and saw dense smoke coming out of the factory," said Pramod Kumar (49), a worker from a factory in Jhilmil Industrial area. Earlier, the chief minister had expressed shock over the incident.
"Shocked to know about three deaths in a factory fire in Jhilmil Industrial area. Fire Services personnel tried their best to bring the fire under control in hostile conditions," Kejriwal tweeted. In January last year, 17 people, including 10 women, were killed in a massive blaze at a firecracker storage unit in outer Delhi's Bawana Industrial Area. PTI NIT AMP SLB
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