Four workers trapped in Delhi factory die in blaze, owner arrested
By the time the door was unlocked, more than 40 workers had already been rescued by neighbours who used mattresses, ladders, sarees and bedsheets to help them climb out from the windows or jump over to adjacent buildings.delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2018 23:36 IST
Four workers, including two minor boys, were killed when an illegal shoe factory in a residential neighbourhood caught fire in Raj Park in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri, police and fire officials said.
The survivors told the police that the factory owner had locked the front door from outside, while the rear door is permanently closed, leaving the 50 people in the building with no escape route.
By the time the door was unlocked, more than 40 workers had already been rescued by neighbours who used mattresses, ladders, sarees and bedsheets to help them climb out from the windows or jump over to adjacent buildings, eyewitnesses said.
A case has been filed against the factory owner, Biresh Gupta, who was arrested late in the evening.
According to medical reports, three workers died of suffocation and one was charred to death.
The deceased were identified as Mohammad Razi,20, Mohammad Shamu,17, Mahbub Barish,18, and Ayub Barish,17. Mahbub and Ayub were brothers.
All four of them were from Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh.
The workers were sleeping on the first, second, and third floors of the building when the blaze started around 6.30am in the ground floor, reportedly due to a short-circuit.
Chief fire officer Atul Garg said at least 30 fire fighters used 10 fire tenders to control the flames by 10.10 am, though cooling operations continued till late evening. “Four bodies were found in a room on the second floor,” he said. This is third major fire in factories in outer Delhi this year. Seventeen workers were killed and two injured in a fire at a firecracker unit in Bawana on January 20. The survivors had alleged the factory was locked from outside when the fire broke out.
Two workers were killed in a fire that broke out in a footwear unit in Narela on April 7. Delhi government on Monday sought a report from home department about the Sultanpuri incident.
Officials said the building didn’t have the mandatory fire-safety certificate. The owners could face multiple charges for the lack of safety equipment, they added. Nagendra Tripathi, SDM, Rohini, said the factory owner, Biresh Gupta, lives with his family in the neighbourhood, just 200 m from the factory. “Four to five small cooking gas cylinders were found in the building,” he said.
In an unrelated incident on Monday, a 21-year-old man was killed when a fire broke out at a building in Chandni Chowk. The fire left several shops damaged in a four-storey building in Kucha Mahajani area. The victim, Rohit, suffocated to death, police said.