Shocking tragedy at Bawana Industrial Area in Delhi. Atleast 17 people, including 10 women, were burnt alive or asphyxiated and 30 others injured at a fire that broke out in a firecracker warehouse in outer Delhi’s Bawana industrial area on Saturday evening.
The fire, which started on the storage unit on the ground floor, ripped the two-storey building, a fire services official said.
Following the tragic incident, factory owner Manoj Jain was arrested by the Delhi Police. Jain told police that he was running the factory alone and had taken it on rent.
The Delhi government has ordered an inquiry. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, visited the spot, and announced Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the dead and Rs 1 lakh to the injured.
Preliminary reports also suggest that a few of the workers jumped to save themselves. One man jumped off the terrace, sustained fractures and is said to be critical. The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) official stated that the toll had risen as there was no window for the exit. The staircase was allegedly packed with cartons.
According to the fire department, the building did not adhere to the fire safety norms. The cracker factory was allegedly opened just 15 days ago and was not following any fire safety norms.
Fire officials stated that the blaze started from the basement and soon spread to three floors. It ripped through the building around 6.20 pm. The fire department received a call around 6.40 pm and 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Officials, however, suspected that short-circuit could have led to the blaze. Chief fire officer Atul Garg said that the control room was informed about the blaze at 6.20 pm. More people suspected to be trapped inside the factory.
“The fire was of category four which means it was not a big fire. However, explosions took place inside the factory that resulted in the casualties,” said Garg.
“All casualties are from Sector 5 fire. It is completely under control now. We have recovered 17 bodies so far,” said GC Mishra, director, Delhi Fire Services. Fifteen fire tenders managed to combat the fire by 8.57 pm, but rescue operations are still on, Mr Garg said.
Police officials said people who were trapped inside the factory died of injuries and asphyxiation.
Panic gripped the city soon after the news of the fire tragedy spread following which Delhi Cabinet minister Satyendar Jain took to Twitter, and wrote, “Learnt about a serious fire incident in a private factory at Bawana. Several casualties reported. Monitoring the situation. Ordered enquiry.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish at the death of people in the fire.
“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May those who are injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted quoting Mr Modi.
The Delhi government ordered an inquiry into the blaze even as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was keeping a “close watch” on the rescue operations. “Very sad to hear abt large no of casualties. Keeping a close watch on rescue operations,” he said in a tweet.
Union health minister JP Nadda said that the AIIMS and the Safdarjung Hospital were ready to provide all assistance to people injured in a blaze at a firecracker storage unit in Delhi’s Bawana area. The health ministry has also asked the hospitals to keep emergency services ready.