17 killed after blaze engulfs firecracker factory in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Seventeen people were killed and two injured in a massive blaze at a firecracker storage unit in outer Delhi’s Bawana industrial area on Saturday evening, a Delhi Fire Services official said, even as the city government ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The fire, which started at the storage unit on the ground floor of a two-storey building, ripped through the structure, the official said.
Ten women and seven men were killed, another fire official said, noting that a man and woman have been injured.
The two injured have been admitted to a hospital.
The police also confirmed 17 people were killed and said an FIR has been registered. An investigation is on to ascertain the cause of the blaze, they said.
The Delhi Fire Services received a call about the fire at the factory around 6.20 pm and 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the fire department said, adding the blaze has been brought under control.
G C Mishra, Director, Delhi Fire Service, said the building comprised a basement, ground floor and two upper floors.
“One body was recovered from the basement, three from the ground floor and 13 from the first floor. One person sustained fractures after he jumped from the second floor to save himself,” he said.
Mishra said the fire was doused by 9.20 pm on Saturday, but search and rescue operations were underway. “We are taking no chance. We don’t have a definite number of people who were in the building when the fire broke out,” he said. The police said the people were either charred or got choked to death.
PM expresses grief
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish at the death of people in the fire. “My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May those who are injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted quoting Modi.
The Delhi government ordered an inquiry into the blaze even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was keeping a “close watch” on the rescue operations.
“V(ery) sad to hear abt large no of casualties. Keeping a close watch on rescue operations,” he said in a tweet. Kejriwal announced Rs5 lakh compensation for kin of those killed and Rs 1 lakh for those who have been injured.
One arrested
Manoj Jain, who was running the factory has been apprehended for the fire tregedy. He was running the firm in partnership with one Lalit Goel.
The police are yet to ascertain whether he owns the place or had taken it on rent.