Delhi Anaj Mandi fire: 43 dead, several critically injured, probe ordered

The massive blaze ripped through the four-storey building housing  "illegal" manufacturing units in congested Anaj Mandi area in Filmistan locality.Police and fire department officials said most of the fatalities occurred due to suffocation as many people were sleeping when the fire started around 5 am on the second floor of the building that did not have fire safety clearance

 

New Delhi:

Forty three people were killed on Sunday after a fire broke out in north Delhi’s Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi road at 5:22 am.

 

A massive fire swept through a factory in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi on Sunday morning, leaving 43 labourers dead and many others injured, police said. The Delhi government has ordered a probe into the incident and has sought a detailed report within seven days.

 

The death toll is likely to climb as many of the injured have suffered grievous injuries, according to fire and police officials. total of 59 people were inside the factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out, they said.

 

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was searching the factory to find out if any more people were trapped, a police official told Reuters.The injured were rushed to Delhi’s Lok Nayak hospital where medical director Kishore Singh, said the condition of those injured “is not serious, and have been kept under observation."

 

Nearly 150 firefighters worked to rescue 63 people from the building that has been left heavily damaged by the blaze.The fire was reported at 5:22 AM following which 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.Chaotic scenes were witnesed at the site of the fire incident with relatives and locals rushing to the area.

 

Speaking to media, deputy fire chief officer Sunil Choudhary said: "A fire broke out in a 600 sq feet plot. It was very dark inside. It is a factory where school bags, bottles and other materials were kept."


According to a man whose three nephews were working at the factory, "At least 12-15 machines were installed in the unit. I have no idea about the factory owner."

 

According to him, many units were operating from the premises which was located in a congested area.

 

Many people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital, LNJP and Hindu Rao Hospital, fire officials said. 34 people were brought dead to LNJP hospital and smoke inhalation was the primary cause of the death. Some of the bodies were charred, Dr Kishore Singh, Medical Superintendent, LNJP, said. Out of the 15 injured brought to LNJP, nine people are under observation and others have partial injuries, he said.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the fire incident as extremely horrific and said authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy.

 

"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," the prime minister said in a tweet.

 

“Tragic loss of precious lives in the fire accident in New Delhi. My deepest condolences with families of those who have lost their loved ones. I pray for the early recovery of the injured. Have instructed concerned authorities to provide all possible assistance on urgent basis," Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted on Sunday.

 

The fire department said more than 30 units of fire tenders had been rushed to the spot, following a short circuit which caused the fire, claiming the lives of labourers who were asleep inside the factory.

 

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Manoj Tiwari visited the site of the fire.The incident that claimed 43 live and left 16 injured brought back tragic memories of the Uphaar cinema hall blaze in 1997.

 

"This is perhaps the biggest tragedy of this nature after the Uphaar mishap," Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters at the LHMC Hospital. He met the victims'' families at the two hospitals after visiting the accident site.


The massive blaze ripped through the four-storey building housing  "illegal" manufacturing units in congested Anaj Mandi area in Filmistan locality.Police and fire department officials said most of the fatalities occurred due to suffocation as many people were sleeping when the fire started around 5 am on the second floor of the building that did not have fire safety clearance.


“It's a sad incident. As per initial information, the fire broke out due to short circuit. BJP will provide financial assistance of ₹5 lakh each to families of those who have lost their lives and ₹25,000 to injured," Tiwari said.
 

Safety ignored

Forget about the narrow structures in high-density areas like Shahdara and Seelampur in East Delhi. Even the buildings like the Parliament House Annexe, Vayu Bhawan, Sena Bhawan and offices of various Central ministries in Lutyens' Delhi are ranked very low in terms of fire safety.

 

The Delhi Fire Service (DFS), in the course of inspections, has found that these high-security buildings have various shortcomings and during fire incidents, these might lead to heavy loss of lives and property.

 

According to the list of DFS, there are more than 100 such buildings in Lutyens' Delhi alone.

 

DFS chief Atul Garg said that these buildings do not require any 'No Objection Certificate' (NoC) as these are quite old.

 

"As per the inspections, we have found shortcomings and have suggested a few changes, which should be done," Garg told ANI.


According to former DFS Chief RC Sharma, who served for 22 years at the agency, these buildings cannot fulfill the modern-day requirements as these were built many years ago.

 

"These buildings are old and have been built long back. They may not have the required facility, which has been introduced like compartmentation and putting a door on a staircase. It may not be possible to install doors at the staircase. That is why these buildings feature in the list of structures with shortcomings," said Sharma.

 

According to a letter accessed by ANI, sent to the Parliament House Annexe after an inspection last year, the DFS noticed multiple shortcomings.

 

"Hose reel on the ground near BJP room number 5B is not functional. Main pumps and a diesel pump are not on auto mode; branch pipes are missing in hose boxes and in some boxes, only one hose is kept instead of two. The main control room fire alarm and detection panel is not functioning properly and all exit and gates must be kept clear," DFS had said.


DFS had also requested that all the fire-fighting systems installed in Parliament House must be kept in working condition during the sessions.


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