Massive fire at Delhi’s Anaj Mandi kills 43

A massive blaze ripped through a four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi’s Anaj Mandi area on Sunday morning killing 43 people.

The incident is the second most severe fire in the national capital after the Uphaar Cinema tragedy that claimed 59 lives and left over 100 injured.

A preliminary probe suggested that short circuit triggered the blaze, an official said, adding that the building neither had safety equipment nor had fire clearance from Delhi Fire Service.

Most of the people working in the units were fast asleep when the fire broke out in the second floor of the building in the early hours and 30 fire tenders were pressed into service, fire officials said.

Nearly 150 fire personnel carried out the rescue operation and pulled out 63 people from the building. While 43 labourers died, many others were injured including two fire personnel, fire officials said.

The congested area made rescue operations difficult. Firemen had to cut window grills to access the building.

Police said they have detained the property owner, identified as Mohammed Rehan, for questioning. A case has also been registered against him. “Owner of the building Rehan and his manager Furkan have been arrested. We are investigating the matter. From the information we have, more or less there is no possibility of more bodies being recovered,” Delhi Police DCP North Monika Bhardwaj said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues Imran Hussain and Satyendra Jain visited the incident spot to take stock of the situation.

The Delhi government ordered a probe into the incident and sought a detailed report within seven days.