A firefighter was killed and 14 others injured when a battery factory collapsed in northwest Delhi's Peera Garhi following an explosion due to a fire that broke out early on Thursday morning, officials said. As many as 18 people were rescued from the building, including two caretakers and a security guard, they added. The deceased firefighter has been identified as Amit Balyan (20), who was admitted to Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute. Meanwhile, the crime branch has been tasked to carry the investigation.
At least 35 fire tenders were present at the spot as efforts to douse the flames continued. According to reports, the factory had engulfed into flames early in the day. A blast was later reported from the factory while the rescue operations were underway. Those trapped also included some fire brigade personnel.
The fire was reported from the factory of Okaya batteries. A call regarding the fire was received at 4:23 am. A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is at the spot as rescue operations are underway.
Commenting on the incident, Additional DCP (Outer) Rajendra Sagar said 14 people have been injured in the incident, out of which 13 are fire brigade personnel. The back portion of the building has collapsed, fire though is in control now, he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condoled his death and tweeted, "It is with deep sadness I inform you that one of our firemen was martyred while saving people from fire. Our firemen save other people's lives by putting their lives under extremely risk in difficult circumstances. May his soul rest in peace." Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal also condoled the death of the firefighter.
"Deeply anguished over news of death of fire operator Amit Balyan Amit along with his team members fought bravely to save lives of many people. I salute his bravery My sincere condolences to his family members. All possible assistance to be extended to the injured & bereaved family," he tweeted.
A large portion of the two-storey building collapsed following an explosion when firefighters were dousing the blaze, an official said, adding that fire department had received a call at 4.23 am.
Fire under control now
According to fire department officials, the fire has been brought under control but the cooling process is still underway. All the firemen, who were trapped under the debris, have been rescued. Plumes of smoke billowed out from the building as the fire brigade personnel battled to contain the blaze. An eyewitness said several explosions were heard as the blaze gutted down the building.
Santosh Kumar, who works in a plastic factory nearby, said around 9 am, the back side of the building collapsed. "Two to four persons were trapped still trapped inside the building and were heard screaming for help. The fire personnel rescued them with the help of a ladder. They were alive," he said.
According to police, eighteen people have been rescued including two caretakers and a security guard. Most of them trapped inside were fire personnel, among them two of them is said to be critical and others are out of danger. Police said legal action is being taken under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain also visited the spot and ordered a magisterial enquiry into the matter. The National Disaster Response Force and civil authorities rushed to the spot to control the situation, an official said, adding that 35 fire tenders were at the spot. The injured, including a security guard of the factory, were rushed to nearby hospitals, a police officer said.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, who visited the fire scene, said he got to know that the condition of a person, some Manjeet Rana, is stated to be critical... The incident is big. Investigation has to be done. The fire took place around 4 am and the fire personnel are still trying to control the fire.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said he was monitoring the situation.
"V sad to hear this. Am closely monitoring the situation. Fire personnel trying their best. Praying for the safety of those trapped," Kejriwal tweeted.
Baijal had also tweeted earlier in the day and said "Deeply saddened over the unfortunate fire incident in Peeragadi. Met the injured. Pray for their speedy recovery. Brave firemen are putting all efforts to douse the fire and rescue people. Directed authorities to provide all possible help on urgent basis."
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