Mindless extensions and the narrow lanes of Jahangirpuri K-block proved fatal for three women who were charred to death on Tuesday night.
Residents said that the fire tenders could not reach the spot and the congested neighbourhood delayed rescue.
The dangling wires and the one-room sets into two-storey buildings have turned this slum cluster into a tinderbox.
“The main lane is just a few metres wide and the house where the fire broke is barely wide enough to accommodate one person. The tenders could not reach inside nor were the hosepipes long enough to be pulled in,” said Saddam, a resident of the colony.
Neighbours said when the fire broke out at jhuggi number 722 at K-2 block in Jahangirpuri, around 9.30pm, four women were inside. Three of them, Kavita (20), Mithelesh (46), and Anjali (15) died.
They said that the tenders took over 20 minutes to reach the spot and the charred bodies were pulled out of the house by the neighbours and the fire was mostly brought under control.
Thirty five-year-old Ajay, a resident, went into the house and pulled the bodies out.
“The authorities do not care about the lives of the poor. When we did not receive any response, we started dousing the fire ourselves. The fire officials came in when most of the work was already done,” said Oma, Mithelesh’s sister.
Mithelesh had lit the gas stove to temper spices when the leaking LPG cylinder caught fire. Residents said that this was not the first incident of fires as a result of gas leakages.
“There have been minor fires here all because of gas leakages. The gas agencies give priority to DDA and other private posh colonies and the defective cylinders are given to residents here. Where I work, the cylinders are tested before being installed but here even if we complain of a leak, the agency responds after days,” said Mohini, a neighbour.