A massive fire at a garbage mound in Gurugram's Manesar Sector 6 area gutted around a thousand shanties, killing a woman who was burnt alive and injuring three others.
More than a dozen vehicles including bikes, tractors, and canters were burnt to ashes due to the fire.
Earlier in morning Gulshan Kalra, the deputy director of the Gurugram fire department had said that two including a woman had died in the fire incident, but later deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav revised the death toll.
“As of now we confirm only one casualty, 50 years old Meena Devi, a resident of Ranipur from Patna of Bihar. Three others who were injured in fire are being treated in hospitals,” Yadav told PTI.
An FIR of negligence has been registered against unknown persons at Kherki Daula Police Station and an investigation has been launched into the matter.
Officials said about 35 fire tenders from Palwal, Rewari, Nuh, Jhajjar, and Gurugram were rushed to the spot after the fire was reported.
The blaze was brought under control after about 10 hours of hard work by 250 fire fighters, they said.
While the administration made lodging and food arrangements for over 500 people, not more than 70 had gone there till filing of report, SDM Ankita Chaudhary said.
“Over 1,000 Jhuggis were gutted. We have made arrangements for 500 people in a building opposite Municipal Corporation Manesar but only 70 have gone there. We are trying to convince them but majority are not going. We have a bus in waiting to take them if they want to be taken there at night. Food is also being provided,” the SDM said.
The cause behind the fire was yet to be ascertained.
Yadav has issued instructions to municipal corporations of Manesar and Gurugram to clear any garbage illegally dumped in the open areas.
“The cause behind the fire is not clear yet but such illegal dumping makes sites vulnerable. Civic agencies have been asked to put things in order,” he said.
The fire had sparked in a garbage mound at a scrap yard on Monday night and went on to spread across about 25 acres engulfing over 1,000 shanties.
The blaze spread faster due to a storm the previous night, said fire officials. Cylinders kept in the slums exploded and smoke in the sky could be seen from kilometres away till Tuesday evening.
Residents of the shanties used to pile scraps collected by them in the area. The area also has several small godowns of scrap dealers.
The fire department said the garbage caught fire allegedly after a family living in the slum left a stove burning after cooking food.
According to their version, the fire from stove reached the garbage due to strong storm winds.
Eyewitnesses said flames rose up to 25 feet when the fire was at its peak.
District Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav along with SDM Ankita Chaudhary inspected the spot and interacted with the victims and assured them of all possible help.
The residents of nearby villages and volunteers from the Red Cross society also reached the spot and helped the fire victims with food and water.
Rajender Kumar, SHO of Kherki Daula Police Station, said the complaint was filed by the nephew of the only deceased, Meena Devi.
He said one of the injured is being treated at Safdarjung Hospital, and another at a private hospital in Baskushla village. The third injured, who was taken to Apollo hospital, fled from the facility, he said.
“We are trying to record the statements of injured. The probe is on and action will be taken on the basis of the facts revealed in the investigation,” Kumar said.(With PTI inputs)