Factory owner, manager held after fire at Delhi's Anaj Mandi area kills 43
09 December 2019
Police in New Delhi have arrested the owner and manager of the unauthorised factory after a massive blaze that ripped through the four-storey building killed 43 people.
The building, in north Delhi’s Anaj Mandi area, housed illegal manufacturing units, police and fire officials said.
The police have arrested building owner Rehan and his manager Furkan in connection with the fire incident.
The fire broke out in the second floor of the building early on Sunday morning when more than a hundred workers were sleeping in the four-storey building located in a residential part of Delhi.
The factory, which made school bags and toys, was packed with materials like paper, plastics and cardboard, causing it to burn for hours before being brought under control.
A preliminary probe suggested that short circuit triggered the blaze, they said.
Nearly 150 fire personnel carried out the rescue operation and pulled 63 people out of the building.
Most workers employed at the unit used to live in the factory itself, cooking meals there. The Indian Express quoted one of the victims who had telephoned a neighbour in his hometown in central India saying he was trapped and going to die soon and that he should take care of his family.
While 43 labourers died, several others were injured, including two fire personnel, fire officials said.
At least 30 fire tenders were pressed into service, fire officials said.
Fire engines had struggled to access the congested lane where the building was located, witnesses said.
They said none of the units had a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department and the congested area made rescue operations difficult. Firemen had to cut window grills to access the building.
Frequent raids by civic authorities to enforce building codes, fire safety measures and evacuation procedures have failed to curb violations in the rapidly expanding city of around 20 million people.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced compensation of Rs10 lakh for the families of those killed.
The Prime Minister also announced an ex gratia of Rs2 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased. PM Modi also approved Rs50,000 each for those seriously injured in the fire, his office said.
The amount will be paid from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund, the PMO said in a tweet.