Man dead in Narela factory fire, search on for his colleague
The police said that the body was suspected to be that of 32-year-old Mangal Mandal, but since it was charred beyond recognition, they will await further examination before confirming the identity.Updated: Nov 18, 2019 01:47 IST
A security guard was charred to death, while his colleague’s whereabouts remained unknown after a footwear factory in outer Delhi’s Narela was gutted in the early hours of Sunday.
The flames and the smoke were such that it took the firefighters over 14 hours to locate the body of the guard, said Atul Garg, chief fire officer (Delhi Fire Services). Firefighters suspect that the cause of the fire may have been due to a brazier lit to keep a room warm.
The police said that the body was suspected to be that of 32-year-old Mangal Mandal, but since it was charred beyond recognition, they will await further examination before confirming the identity.
The search for the other missing security guard continued till late Sunday night even as the police and firefighters remained unsure whether he was trapped inside or managed to survive. “The missing guard’s mobile phone number is switched off. While a search for him continues in the building, we are also probing if he escaped and is too frightened to emerge,” said a senior police officer.
The fire department received a call reporting the blaze at 12.45am on Sunday.
With three floors and a basement, the footwear factory was constructed over a 350 square yard plot, said Mehmood, assistant divisional officer (DFS).
“All the four floors of the building were burning. The dense smoke emanating from rubber slippers made firefighting and rescue operations tough. We couldn’t enter the building. If we did manage to enter, the dense smoke would force us to leave quickly,” said Mehmood.
The fire fighting operation continued till morning. “The building had begun developing cracks. We had to make four holes on the sides of the building to be able to totally douse the flames by early afternoon,” said Mehmood.
Early on into the firefighting operation, the personnel had been informed by the factory owner that two security guards had spent the night inside the building.
“Like every day, they had locked the factory from inside. They had the keys to the gates on the ground floor and the terrace,” said Mehmood.
Firefighters and the police suspect that the guards may have been unable to find the keys on realising that the building was on fire. What transpired inside the building in the early hours remains unknown, but the firefighters are certain that at least one of the guards ran upstairs.
“Neighbours heard loud bangs on the terrace door. But they couldn’t help as it was locked from the inside,” said Mehmood.
While extinguishing the flames, the fire fighters had simultaneously been looking for the missing men. “We found one body at 3pm near the gate of the terrace. It was badly charred. The delay in finding it was partially due to the dense flames and smoke,” Mehmood said.
Police are yet to register a case into the incident.