Two people were killed and two others were seriously injured in a fire at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) building on Rafi Marg in Central Delhi on Thursday afternoon.
All the victims were Council employees.
Initially, six people were trapped in the building. Fire officials rushed four of them to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital as they developed breathing problems due to asphyxiation.
“As they were exposed to the smoke for a long time, they developed breathing problems. We sent the employees to RML Hospital where two of them died later in the evening,” said a fire official on conditions of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The two people who died have been identified as K.P. Joshi (45) and Satish Kumar (45).
The fire started around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in a storeroom at the third floor of the building, which also houses the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The other two CSIR employees who are yet to be identified are also undergoing treatment for breathlessness.
The fire service sent 14 fire tenders and the fire was controlled within an hour.
The police said some of the people who were trapped in the building rushed to the terrace to escape the flames.
“Four people were rushed to a nearby hospital as they had developed breathing problems,” Shankar Dash, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) had said earlier.
Fire officials said that the fire might have been caused by a short circuit.
“As electricity was turned off after the incident, many people could not find an escape route,” added a police officer on the condition of anonymity.