Locals of Chandni Mahal, along with members of the Civil Defence and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), worked 20 hours non-stop to carry out the rescue operation in the narrow lanes of Old Delhi.
At a time when JCB machines were unable to reach the tight spot, locals started clearing out the debris.
''Rather than waiting for the rescue team, we started to pull out those trapped under the debris. People of the entire block remained awake and many even went to the hospital to help victims,'' said Raashid Raza, a local.
''People were screaming for help and we could hear them shouting from under the debris. It was important for us to clear it at the earliest. The rescue team took time to arrive,'' Raza added.
''Our whole unit (consisting of 250 volunteers) from Kamla Market rushed to the spot by 9pm. We formed a chain and started clearing the debris. None of us slept and our only aim was to save as many lives as possible,'' Mohammed Danish, a member of Civil Defence said.
Residents said they wanted to be there till the very end, as there was a possibility of more bodies under the debris.
''Some passersby were also trapped under the debris. Around 500 members of NDRF are here and assisting rescue teams,'' a member of NDRF said. Some NDRF members helped out by distributing pouches of water to rescuers.
''Since there was no power we also arranged for generators. Those living nearby were evacuated,'' said Farzan Ahmed, 17.