As many as 250 firemen were finally able to douse the blaze at Bhagirath Place market, near Red Fort, after 48 hours of continuous fire-fighting efforts.
The fire that had started around 5.30pm on Thursday at the electrical goods market was declared “controlled” by the fire department at 2.30pm on Saturday. However, they did not give the cause of fire.
“We have doused the fire but the cause is yet to be ascertained. The police may be in a better position to investigate and tell the reason,” said AK Sharma, Delhi fire chief.
Residents of the area, however, said a lot of chemicals were stocked on the third floor of building no. 1809, which may have triggered the fire.
Two hours after the fire was doused, fire tenders and firemen stayed put at the site to ensure that the tinder in the two affected buildings — 1809 and 1810 — does not relit. Till evening, four fire-tenders were stationed at the area as standby.
Around 50 fire-tenders, 22 on Thursday, 22 on Friday and 12 on Saturday worked round-the-clock to control the fire and did not allow it to spread to the rest of the otherwise congested market that has 1,600 shops. The entire task was pretty mammoth considering the fact that the lanes in the area are too narrow to allow more than two-three fire tenders to enter the street.
Even on Saturday afternoon, firemen were seen struggling to find a way to some of the remotest portions of the buildings.
According to the fire department, 250 firefighters worked in shifts to ensure that the market remains safe. While goods were burnt, the fire did not injure or kill any person. On Thursday when the buildings caught fire, over 100 firemen were pressed into service.
“The building was weak and, therefore, firemen refused to enter because it could have been risky. Later, when the fire had been controlled a bit, the firemen entered the building,” said Bharat Ahuja, vice-president of the Delhi Electrical Trader’s Association.