Six employees of a factory that manufactured electronic goods were burnt to death after a fire engulfed a five-storey building in Noida’s Sector 11 on Wednesday.
The incident was reported around 2.30pm at the factory that is located in F Block of Sector 11 near the Delhi-Noida border, police said. Some of the bodies recovered were charred beyond recognition.
One of the employees, police said, sustained severe spinal injuries after he jumped down from the fifth floor.
Employees, who survived the blaze, said that fire tenders reached the spot at least 90 minutes after the first call was made to the police. Fire department officials, however, rubbished the claims and said they rushed to the spot as soon as they were informed.
The fire station is located just two kilometers away from the site of the incident in Sector 2.
“Twelve fire tenders, one 32 meters and another 42 meters hydraulic lift machines reached the spot within 30 minutes of being informed. It took us time to reach the spot because of traffic and encroachment on the road. Our Ghaziabad staff also reached the spot and lent us a helping hand,” said Aman Sharma, a fire department official.
Initial estimates suggest that good sworth at least Rs 15 crore was gutted in the fire.
Sources also said that the blaze also brought to the fore major lapses with regards to jurisdiction. Employees trapped inside the building said they kept calling 100 to inform Noida police about the incident but their call was diverted to neighbouring Delhi and Ghaziabad.
A factory employee, Sheeshpal, said, that the fire broke out around 1pm. “When we dialed 100, the call connected to Delhi police control room. Later, when we again tried to contact the police, the call connected to Ghaziabad police control room. After several attempts, we finally connected to Noida police control room,” he said.
Sheeshpal said 12 employees worked in factory.
“It appears that fire started due to a short circuit on the third floor. We were trapped on the third floor after the blaze started. While four employees rushed upstairs after the blaze, the others rushed downstairs. One employee, Vivek, jumped from the fifth floor to escape the blaze,” said Ashish Kumar, another employee. The condition of Vivek is stated to be critical.
“We swung into action as soon as we were informed about the fire. Over a dozen fire tenders were sent to the spot to douse the flames. Prima facie it appears that a short circuit may have triggered the fire,” said Aman Sharma, fire officer.
Police said that the death toll may rise as there might be other bodies in the basement of the building.