At least 27 people were killed and 29 more reported missing after a massive fire tore through a commercial building on Friday in India’s national capital.
Many people, in a desperate bid to escape the fire, were seen leaping off the building, while some escaped by climbing down a rope. Some were seen hanging from windows damaged in the fire as fire gutted the complex in the crowded west Delhi area.
Videos on social media showed parts of the building covered in grey soot as thick smoke billowed out of the windows as many clung to the damaged facades waiting to be rescued.
Officials at Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said they received the first call alerting them to the fire around 4.40pm after which they rushed two dozen fire tenders to the spot.
The videos showed firefighters trying to rescue the people trapped with the help of stairs, cranes and ropes, while other rangers tried to bring the fire under control by spraying water.
By night, when the officials managed to get inside the building, they found charred remains, reported The Indian Express.
The rescue operations were underway on Saturday morning for the missing people. Fire officials present at the spot on Saturday said that the death toll is likely to reach 30 as they have recovered more remains.
The fire spread rapidly in the premises as the building contained a lot of plastic material, the official from DFS said.
Officials said that a meeting of 50 people was going on when the fire broke out. But since the door was locked, they were trapped inside.
Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reached the spot on Saturday morning and said that his administration has ordered an investigation into the incident.
Stating the “culprits will not be spared”, Mr Kejriwal announced an ex-gratia of Rs 100,000 (£1052) for the families of the victims who succumbed to the fire and a state compensation of Rs 50,000 (£526) for the injured.
“It was a massive fire, many people were killed, and their bodies were charred to the extent that they could not be identified. We have deployed help to identify the missing and the dead,” he said.
Delhi police arrested company owners Harish Goel and his brother Varun Goel shortly after detaining them, deputy commissioner of police Sameer Sharma said.
The city’s police officials have filed a preliminary complaint (First Information Report) under the charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and attempt to commit culpable homicide among several others.
“An action will be taken against everyone who did something wrong or didn’t follow rules. We will do proper investigation and action will be taken against officers too if they’re found culpable,” Mr Sharma said.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolence and said he was “extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire”.
“My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Mr Modi said.
India’s National Disaster Response Force was also roped in to speed up the rescue operations.
The force’s assistant commandant Vikash Saini said: “The search operation is going on continuously. We have found small parts of bodies on the second floor. I think the search operation would be complete in 3-4 hours.”
Source Link People leap from burning building as massive fire in Indian capital kills 27 people