NEW DELHI: Twenty-seven people have been killed in a fire that broke out in a three-storey commercial building near the Mundka Metro station in west Delhi on Friday afternoon, police said. The fire was brought under control after more than seven hours but there was still smoke coming out from the floors, reports Hindustan Times.
More than 70 people were in the building when the fire started on the first floor and engulfed the entire structure soon after. Police personnel said they rescued some by breaking the windows in and using ropes.
Deputy commissioner of police (outer) Sameer Sharma said the first floor housed the office of a firm that manufactures CCTV cameras and Wi-Fi routers.
A Delhi Police spokesperson later announced the arrest of Harish Goel and Varun Goel, the owners of the business that functioned on the first floor.
At 11pm, deputy commissioner of police Sameer Garg said 26 bodies had been recovered and close to a dozen were pulled out alive, with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia pegging the number at 27 half an hour later. Most of the bodies were found on the second floor.
Teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), along with fire fighters, police and civil defence are present at the spot. Family members of missing employees outside the building have been asking officials if they had found more bodies.
President Ram Nath Kovind expressed distress at the tragic fire accident"
Jogi Ram Jain, the standing committee chairman of the North MCD said the commissioner and senior officials of the civic body are at the site of the fire accident.
"As per preliminary information, the four-storey building was located on the main Rohtak road and it was a commercial property, not an industrial property. A short circuit is said to be the cause of the fire. As per preliminary information, the building did not have fire NOC. We have initiated an inquiry and if any municipal officials are found to be at fault, strict action will be taken. We should wait for the detailed inquiry report," he added.
The blaze and firefighting operations affected traffic on both carriageways of Rohtak Road.
Delhi Fire Services (DFS) chief Atul Garg said that the fire control room received a call reporting the fire around 4.40pm.
“Ten fire tenders were rushed to the fire spot at first, and 14 more were sent in later, owing to the scale of the fire. A woman’s body was found inside the building during the fighting operation. Three injured people had already been rescued and rushed to nearby hospitals in CATS ambulances by the time firefighters reached the building,” said Garg. Fire fighters took over the operations and rescued others.
Police said the commercial building mostly housed office spaces.
Fire department officials said 24 fire tenders were at the spot trying to put out the fire, which was restricted to the third floor of the building after nearly six hours of fire-fighting.