Ten workers were killed and at least five were still missing after a fire broke out at a factory in Faridabad near New Delhi, authorities said on Sunday, adding that an inquiry was ordered.
The factory, belonging to Lakhani footwear of the Lakhani-Vardhman group and located in sector-24 industrial area, was to shut for the day on Friday evening when there was a sudden blast and high flames soon engulfed the packaging department.
Before the workers packing the shoes could realise the gravity of the situation, all exit routes were blocked by flames.
"Out of nine victims, six succumbed to their injuries in the Safdarjung Hospital at Delhi, three were recovered as dead and one worker succumbed to his injuries in Sarvodaya Hospital here," Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh told IANS.
"Five to six workers are still missing. Their families have filed their complaint in police stations," Singh said.
"The temperature at the spot is still high as the chemical mixed with rubber (used in making shoes) was highly immflamable. Forensic laboratory staff from Madhban are camping in Faridabad. An inquiry commission has been constituted to examine all aspects of the accident. The inquiry officer, the deputy labour commissioner (DLC), would submit his report to me," Singh said.
As the fire broke out, the factory management immediately sent an SOS to the fire service and a rescue operation was started by the district administration. Thirty fire tenders were pressed into service, bringing the fire under control by 2.00 am on Saturday.
"Immediately after we received the call, we engaged about a dozen ambulances from almost all hospitals situated in Faridabad. The critically injured workers were admitted to the Badshah Khan Government Hospital, Escort Hospital, ESI Hospital, Sarvodaya Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital at Delhi," Singh said.
He added that the administration was discussing with the factory management terms of compensation for the kin of the deceased.