Saturday, Jul 02, 2022
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Delhi Mundka Fire: Smoke, Single Entry-Exit Point, Narrow Passage Made Evacuation Difficult

The fire has so far killed at least 27 people, while 29 are still reported to be missing, according to officials.

Delhi Fire Services personnel at the site of fire in Mundka, Delhi
Delhi Fire Services personnel at the site of fire in Mundka, Delhi PTI photo

The four-storeyed building that was engulfed by a massive fire on Friday had a narrow passage and a single entry-exit point that made timely evacuation of people difficult. The smoke also worsened the situation.

A senior police officer said a motivational speaker was addressing an event in the building when the fire broke out. However, there was no information about the speaker's name or whereabouts.

The door of the second floor was locked from outside during the event which led to the delay in evacuation, claimed a survivor, although the Delhi Police and fire department officials couldn't confirm that.

The fire has so far killed at least 27 people, while 29 are still reported to be missing, according to officials. Twelve people were injured in the fire.

The building also did not have a no objection certificate from the fire department. A top fire department official said the presence of only one point of entry and exit could be the reason for the high number of deaths.

Shanti, who worked at the CCTV camera assembling company housed on the first and second floors of the building, was one of the lucky few who could escape the fire. 

She told PTI, "We had assembled for a meeting on the second floor of the building when we noticed the flames. We ran towards the exit but it was closed. We were struck. Desperate, several people jumped from the second floor while several were rescued by a crane.

"There were around 250 workers in the factory at the time of the incident. Many people are still unaccounted for."

Another survivor said that he was yet to come to terms with the deaths of so many people.

He told PTI, "Everybody was shouting. We were trying to save ourselves. There was only one way to go. So many were my friends."

Vamsika, the daughter of Renu who escaped with injuries, questioned the safety of workers in such factories. 

She said, "My mother just suffered injuries but so many people have died. Today this establishment has caught fire tomorrow it will be another. We cannot always live in fear."

The fire deparment has said that the death toll could rise to 30 as charred human remains were found in the building during cooling operations on Saturday morning. Only seven of the 27 deceased have so far been identidied, according to Delhi Police. An official said that DNA tests would likely be used to identify the deceased. 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced a magisterial inquiry into the incident. He also announced Rs 10 lakh in compensation for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

(With PTI inputs)

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