27 dead as massive fire rips through commercial building in Delhi’s Mundka

At least 27 people were killed and several injured when a massive fire ripped through a three-storey commercial building housing a CCTV company near Mundka metro station in west Delhi Friday evening.

Around 60-70 people have been rescued from the building, the police said, adding that at least 40 have been moved to hospital.

The fire broke out in a building near pillar number 544 of the Mundka metro station. “This was a CCTV godown and office. We have been conducting searches since. People said many have been trapped inside,” said Sunil Chaudhary, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Delhi, said.

The fire started from the first floor of the building, which houses the office of a CCTV camera and router manufacturing company.

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According to fire department officials, information about the blaze was received around 4.40 pm following which 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

“Its a tragic incident14 dead bodies confirmed and 12 people are injured,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Sameer Sharma said around 10 pm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other leaders expressed grief at the loss of lives.

In videos that emerged on social media, people could be heard crying for help while others were seen jumping from the building in a desperate attempt to escape the flames.

There were videos where people could be seen using ropes to escape the building from where thick black smoke was coming out. Locals were also seen providing them help in reaching to safety. Some survivors also used a narrow space in the building to climb down.

The police said some people were injured while trying to escape and were shifted to the hospital. In order to rescue those who were trapped, the fire department deployed cranes while police officials broke the windows of the building to help the people.

Following a six-hour long firefighting operation, the blaze was brought under control. Police, fire department and NDRF teams were involved in the rescue work.

The owners of the company, Harish Goel and Varun Goel. have been detained, police said, adding the building-owner has been identified as Manish Lakra. They said Lakra lives on the top floor, and an FIR is being registered against him under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

During initial enquiry, the police found that the four-storey building was used for providing office spaces to companies. Over 50 employees of the company whose office was located on the first floor were rescued, they said.

Some ambulances were also made available at the spot to provide immediate medical assistance to the rescued victims.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain visited the spot and took stock of the rescue operations. This is not the first time that Delhi has witnessed such a massive fire incident.

In December 2019, a blaze at an anaj mandi had claimed at least 44 lives, making it the most deadly fire incident in the national capital after the 1997 Uphaar Cinema tragedy that had killed 59 and left over 100 injured.

Fourteen years later, a fire during a meeting organised for transgenders at Nand Nagri where almost 10,000 people had gathered, had killed 14 and left nearly 30 injured. In 2018, another massive fire at a firecracker storage unit at Bawana had left 17 people, including 10 women, dead.

(With agency inputs)

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