Two women and a teenager died in a massive fire on Saturday at a two-storeyed hardware factory in Delhi's Jhilmil Industrial Area, which houses a cluster of industrial units, official said. Thirty-one fire tenders were rushed to the spot in Shahdara after the blaze broke out around 9 am, the Delhi Fire Services said.
The fire started from the first floor of the building and engulfed the whole structure, the police said. Cartons kept inside the factory, which manufactures taps, caught fire quickly and aided in its spread, according to the supervisor of the factory, Pradeep.
He said around 60 workers were present inside the factory that opens at around 9 am and most of them managed to escape. "But the three victims were present on the second floor and could not come downstairs as it was filled with smoke," Pradeep said.
A fire department official said that they managed to bring out five people who were trapped on the second floor of the building, but only two survived. Fire fighters said they had to break a window grill that was ravaged by the blaze.
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 injured have been admitted to the GTB Hospital. A fire personnel also sustained injuries during the rescue operation, the police said.
Officials said the factory located in the narrow lanes did not have a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department. An East Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the licence of the factory had expired and a probe had been ordered.
An FIR has been registered against the owners of the factory under Sections 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 304 (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, the police said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the site with Industries Minister Satyendar Jain.
Kejriwal announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased. He said a probe would be conducted to ascertain the reason behind the incident and action would be taken against anyone not following the fire norms. The factory supervisor cited short circuit as the possible reason behind the incident.
"There was almost no ventilation and the factory was sandwiched between other factories from all the sides," Delhi Fire Services director Vipin Kental said. "There were very few windows in the building and that too very small ones, while there was no ventilation at the backside." Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg was also involved in the operation, which the fire fighters said was challenging since the factory had become a furnace due to the blaze.
Officials said a cooling operation was underway. 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 SLB AMP KND PR
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