Delhi woke up to a fire disaster at a luggage manufacturing factory in a crowded area in north Delhi. The fire broke out at 5 am and by the time this report was written, already forty-three people were dead. Since it was a factory, the people who have died in this incident are mostly labourers were sleeping in the factory in Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained by the officials. What is alarming about this incident is that over 50 people were inside this factory and it is located in a residential area. It would have been very easy for this fire to spread had it not been for the 30 fire trucks that came to the rescue.
Rescued people were rushed to nearby Delhi hospitals; the bodies of some of the victims were taken to LNJP Hospital where doctors said smoke inhalation was the primary cause of death. Some of the bodies were charred, news agency PTI reported.
Once news of the fire broke out, political leaders have poured out their support with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rushing to the site to inspect the fire site. Manoj Tiwari, Delhi BJP Chief and another BJP leader Vijay Goel also visited the site.
The government has announced that a compensation of INR 10 lakhs each will be given to the affected families of those dead and INR 1 lakh each to those injured. “The expense of medical treatment of those injured to be borne by the government,” Delhi CM has said.
Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot said that he has directed the district magistrate (central) to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within seven days.
The factory was operating in a residential area with narrow lanes. The congestion in the area made it very difficult for fire trucks to reach the affected area. The lanes are full of small manufacturing and storage units.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are assisting in rescue operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences this morning and tweeted that the fire is “extremely horrific”. He said his thoughts were with the families of the victims and that the authorities had been instructed to provide all possible assistance.
Home Minister Amit Shah, who tweeted minutes earlier about the “tragic loss of precious lives”, said he would pray for the early recovery of the injured.
President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted saying he was “extremely sad to hear the tragic news” and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he was “hurt by the news of the death of (so) many people…”.
The traffic police have asked people not to use Rani Jhansi flyover near New Delhi railway station as the road has been closed due to the incident.
Today’s incident is the worst fire tragedy seen by the city since a similar incident in Bawana last year in which 17 labourers were charred to death.