NEW DELHI :
A massive fire swept through a factory in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi on Sunday morning, leaving 43 labourers dead and many others injured, police said. The Delhi government has ordered a probe into the incident and has sought a detailed report within seven days.
The death toll is likely to climb as many of the injured have suffered grievous injuries, according to fire and police officials.
A total of 59 people were inside the factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out, they said.
A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was searching the factory to find out if any more people were trapped, a police official told Reuters.
The fire was reported at 5:22 AM following which 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
Chaotic scenes were witnesed at the site of the fire incident with relatives and locals rushing to the area.
Speaking to media, deputy fire chief officer Sunil Choudhary said: "A fire broke out in a 600 sq feet plot. It was very dark inside. It is a factory where school bags, bottles and other materials were kept."
According to a man whose three nephews were working at the factory, "At least 12-15 machines were installed in the unit. I have no idea about the factory owner." My nephews Mohammed Imran and Ikramuddin were inside the factory. I don't know their whereabouts," the distraught man said.
According to him, many units were operating from the premises which was located in a congested area.
Many people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital, LNJP and Hindu Rao Hospital, fire officials said. 34 people were brought dead to LNJP hospital and smoke inhalation was the primary cause of the death. Some of the bodies were charred, Dr Kishore Singh, Medical Superintendent, LNJP, said. Out of the 15 injured brought to LNJP, nine people are under observation and others have partial injuries, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the fire incident as extremely horrific and said authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy.
"The fire in Delhi’s Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road is extremely horrific. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wishing the injured a quick recovery," the prime minister said in a tweet.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal described the fire incident as tragic and said firemen were doing their best.
"V v tragic news. Rescue operations going on. Firemen doing their best. Injured are being taken to hospitals," the chief minister said in a tweet.
Delhi revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot directed district magistrate (central) to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within seven days.
The fire incident in a three-storey building has so far claimed 43 lives and injured around 56 people, most labourers.