13-year-old girl killed, 70 huts gutted in slum near Tigra village
Fire department officials suspect the fire was caused by a leakage in an LPG cylinder. Police have filed a case against two men—Sunder, who had rented the huts to people, and Nuru Thekedar, who used to collect the rent.Updated: Mar 27, 2018 17:44 IST
A 13-year-old-girl died in a fire that broke out in a slum area near Tigra village in Sector 57 around 10am on Monday. Around 70 huts were gutted. No one else was reportedly injured.
Officials identified the victim as Deepali who was alone in her hut when the fire started. Her father Sanat Das said he and his wife were at work when the mishap took place. Deepali’s brother was in school.
Though the exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, fire department officials—who reached the slum around 10.40am—suspect it was caused by a leakage in an LPG cylinder. According to the police, a lot of damage was caused due to small gas cylinders that caused 10 to 15 explosions during the fire. However, they have not ruled out the possibility of sabotage.
A case has been registered at the Sector 56 police station against Sunder, who had rented the huts to people, and Nuru Thekedar who used to collect the rent under sections 447( criminal treasure) 384 ( extortion), 285(negligent conduct with respect to fire) and 304A (causing death by negligence) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
“Investigations are underway to assess the exact extent of the loss and damage caused. One girl succumbed while undergoing treatment at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. She was initially admitted to the Artemis Hospital and was transferred to Delhi after being given first-aid,” station house officer of Sector 56 police station Arvind Kumar said.
“We have recorded statements of the family members of the deceased girl and we will register a case against the man who had rented the huts. There are many possibilities behind how the fire started. There are power cables in the huts, sparks from which could have been responsible for the blaze. A crime unit, along with the forensic science laboratory team, are collecting samples,” Kumar added.
District fire officer Isham Singh Kashyap said, “When we reached the spot, the huts were engulfed in flames. The fire had spread rapidly through the huts. Firefighters were also called in to douse the flames, which had engulfed the whole area by then, no hut was saved. It took us two hours to get the flames under control as most of the huts were covered with polythene.”
There are over 80 shanties in this slum built over a period of five years on MCG land. Migrant workers from West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha form a major chunk of the population. Most of them work in Sector 56 and the neighbouring residential areas, while some work on construction sites as daily wage earners.
The slum dwellers said they were working when they heard about the fire incident and rushed to the spot but could not even save any of their possessions.
“I was cleaning the complex when I heard people shouting. I left work and rushed to my hut but all the lanes were engulfed in fire. People were running and women were crying to save their money in the huts. No one is left with any money, just our lives,” said Sukanto, another victim.
The nearby residents from sector 56, 57 and The Legend Apartment also rushed to the spot and arranged help.
Chander Bhan Sapra, the estate manager at The Legends Apartment in Sector 57, said, “I saw flames coming from the slum around 10.15am so I and some staffers went to the terrace and set up water pipes.”
“We are now providing food, water, and support to the victims. They have lost everything. We are arranging for meals for them,” said Madhu Rawat, a resident.
“We have collected clothes and have contributed money to support the victims. We have also arranged for dinner,” said Joginder Singh, former RWA president.
Last year on May 28, a six-year-old boy died in a fire that broke out in a slum area near the Sikanderpur marble market in DLF Phase-1 in the wee hours. Around 105 huts were gutted in the fire.