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43 killed in massive blaze in north Delhi building

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Dec 8 - At least 43 people were killed when a massive fire ripped through a four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi�s congested Anaj Mandi area on Sunday morning, in the second deadliest fire incident in the national capital.

Almost all the deceased were migrant labourers hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Police and fire department officials said many of the fatalities occurred due to suffocation as the people were sleeping when the fire started around 5 am on the second floor of the building that did not have fire safety clearance and was packed with combustible material like card boards.

It took over 150 firefighters nearly five hours to douse the blaze. As many as 63 people were pulled out from the building. While 43 including one minor died, 16 people were injured. Two fire department personnel were hurt while carrying out rescue work, officials said.

Those awakened by the fire, suspected by officials to have been triggered by a short-circuit, had to struggle to escape as the exit routes were partially blocked and several windows were found sealed.

Police have arrested the property owner Rehan and his manager Furkan and a case has been registered under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of the IPC. The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the tragedy.

This was the worst fire accident in the national capital since the 1997 Uphaar Cinema blaze that claimed 59 lives. The Delhi government has sought a report within seven days.

More recently, a fire at hotel Arpit Palace at Karol Bagh left 17 dead in February this year.

Officials said 30 fire tenders were rushed after the blaze was first reported at 5.22 am in the Anaj Mandi building which housed manufacturing units for glass items, card boards, handbags and other goods.

The building was packed with combustible material like card boards, plastic wrappings, garments, rexine, plastic toys, packaging materials, aggravating the fire and resulting in dense smoke which suffocated the people trapped inside.

The narrow lanes of Anaj Mandi area made rescue operations difficult for firefighters, who had to cut window-grills to get access to the building. Some injured were carried to the hospital in autorickshaws.

A preliminary probe suggested that a short-circuit triggered the blaze. Power discom BYPL said the fire began due to �internal system� trouble.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the �extremely horrific� incident and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was �very, very tragic�.

Modi and Kejriwal also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively for the next of kin of each of those killed. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each will be given to the families of the deceased. � PTI

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43 killed in massive blaze in north Delhi building

NEW DELHI, Dec 8 - At least 43 people were killed when a massive fire ripped through a four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi�s congested Anaj Mandi area on Sunday morning, in the second deadliest fire incident in the national capital.

Almost all the deceased were migrant labourers hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Police and fire department officials said many of the fatalities occurred due to suffocation as the people were sleeping when the fire started around 5 am on the second floor of the building that did not have fire safety clearance and was packed with combustible material like card boards.

It took over 150 firefighters nearly five hours to douse the blaze. As many as 63 people were pulled out from the building. While 43 including one minor died, 16 people were injured. Two fire department personnel were hurt while carrying out rescue work, officials said.

Those awakened by the fire, suspected by officials to have been triggered by a short-circuit, had to struggle to escape as the exit routes were partially blocked and several windows were found sealed.

Police have arrested the property owner Rehan and his manager Furkan and a case has been registered under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of the IPC. The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the tragedy.

This was the worst fire accident in the national capital since the 1997 Uphaar Cinema blaze that claimed 59 lives. The Delhi government has sought a report within seven days.

More recently, a fire at hotel Arpit Palace at Karol Bagh left 17 dead in February this year.

Officials said 30 fire tenders were rushed after the blaze was first reported at 5.22 am in the Anaj Mandi building which housed manufacturing units for glass items, card boards, handbags and other goods.

The building was packed with combustible material like card boards, plastic wrappings, garments, rexine, plastic toys, packaging materials, aggravating the fire and resulting in dense smoke which suffocated the people trapped inside.

The narrow lanes of Anaj Mandi area made rescue operations difficult for firefighters, who had to cut window-grills to get access to the building. Some injured were carried to the hospital in autorickshaws.

A preliminary probe suggested that a short-circuit triggered the blaze. Power discom BYPL said the fire began due to �internal system� trouble.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the �extremely horrific� incident and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was �very, very tragic�.

Modi and Kejriwal also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively for the next of kin of each of those killed. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each will be given to the families of the deceased. � PTI