Fireman Rajesh Shukla braves injury to save 11 from Delhi inferno

Delhi fire
Rajesh Shukla was one of the first Delhi Fire Service personnel who entered the blazing building | Twitter

At a time when Delhi Fire Service is facing an acute staff shortage, given the number of calls it has been receiving every year, braveheart fireman Rajesh Shukla put his life on the line and saved 11 from the inferno despite suffering a leg injury on Sunday (December 8).

He is now recuperating at LNJP hospital where Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain met him.

“Fireman Rajesh Shukla is a real hero. He was the first fireman to entered the fire spot and he saved around 11 lives. He did his job till the end despite of his bone injuries. Salute to this brave hero (sic),” he tweeted.

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A massive fire ripped through a factory in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi on Sunday morning, leaving 43 labourers dead and many others injured, police said.

Also read | Building in which 43 were killed didn’t have fire clearance: Officials

The frequent occurrence of such fire incidents in the national capital has raised questions on the efficiency of the DFS and its resources. Further, reports quoted 2011 data as showing the total fire calls had increased by almost 65 per cent in five years.

DFS received a total of 18,143 fire calls in 2011 and 22,581 in 2012, data showed. The numbers kept increasing between 2013 and 2017. In 2016, the number crossed 30,000 for the first time, which meant the DFS received at least one call of a fire incident in every 20 minutes.

Also read | Fire breaks out in West Delhi hospital, six patients rescued

Meanwhile, reports said the DFS is facing a shortage of 35 per cent staff. The DFS, which had a sanctioned strength of around 3,600 till last year, had less than 2,000 people working there. Though the DFS has this year recruited 500 more workers, 800 posts are still lying vacant.

Moreover, the control rooms of the DFS that receive calls of fire incidents are facing a massive staff shortage as well. It has 200 fire engines with 5,000-litre storage capacity to cater to a population of nearly two crore.

In comparison, several cities across the world have more firefighters than Delhi, despite having half the population. With around 89 lakh population each, London and New York have over 6,000 and 17,000 firefighters, respectively, reports showed.

(With inputs from agencies)

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