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Hostel fire in Janakpuri causes Surat-like scare, over 50 students rescued

The fire was reported from west Delhi’s Janakpuri early Wednesday and the fire department managed to avert a Surat-like tragedy.

delhi Updated: May 30, 2019 07:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
hostel,fire,surat
Firefighters doused the flames and rescued the girls who were trapped in the smoke-filled basement, ground and first floors of the girls’ hostel in Janakpuri.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

More than 50 students, who were trapped after a fire broke out in the electricity meter panel of a two-storey private girls’ hostel, had a narrow escape, thanks to the timely rescue by firefighters.

The fire was reported from west Delhi’s Janakpuri early Wednesday and the fire department managed to avert a Surat-like tragedy. On May 24, at least 22 students were killed and several others injured in a major fire at a commercial complex in Surat, Gujarat.

Firefighters doused the flames and rescued the girls who were trapped in the smoke-filled basement, ground and first floors. No firefighting equipment was found in the building where students preparing for medical and engineering entrance exams in nearby coaching centres lived on rent, a Delhi fire services (DFS) official said.

Six girls were admitted to a nearby private hospital as they had inhaled toxic smoke and complained of uneasiness. Two of them were discharged soon after, while others were kept on observation till afternoon and were later allowed to go with their guardians, a fire official said.

Deputy commissioner of police (west) Monika Bhardwaj, said, “The six girls were admitted to the hospital as they had inhaled smoke. All of them were safe.”

The hostel fire took place just two days after the west district police held a meeting with owners of hotels, commercial buildings, educational institutes, paying guest accommodations and hostels and sensitised them about fire safety measures to be taken to avoid a Surat-like fire tragedy.

Chief fire officer Atul Garg said the fire control room received a call at 3.05am about the fire in the electricity meter panel at Kaveri Girls’ Hostel in Janakpuri. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and around 20 firefighters doused the blaze and prevented it from spreading to the basement and the two upper floors.

“The fire was minor but the rescue operation was large-scale as more than 50 girls were trapped in the smoke. Our firefighters rescued all of them during an operation that lasted around half an hour,” Garg said.

Fire department’s assistant division officer, Satpal Bhardwaj, said, “Since the main entry-exit staircase to the basement was engulfed in smoke, we rescued the girls using an iron ladder attached to the basement, which they took to reach the ground floor bathroom. Another door on the ground floor was found locked. We broke the lock and rescued the girls. The girls on first floor were also rescued through the same passage.”.

Bhardwaj said one girl jumped onto the guard’s porta cabin, which was about five feet below the first floor. The girl escaped unhurt. “She told us that some other girls too jumped on to the porta cabin, but we could not ascertain this,” he said.

After rescue operations, family members of all the girls were informed and they left for their native homes by the evening.

First Published: May 30, 2019 05:04 IST