Fireman dies in blaze at Delhi factory

Rescue workers at the site of the fire in New Delhi, the third major blaze in the Indian capital in less than a month. The blaze was extinguished, but heavy smoke engulfed the rear portion of the factory building which collapsed. It contained inflamm
Rescue workers at the site of the fire in New Delhi, the third major blaze in the Indian capital in less than a month. The blaze was extinguished, but heavy smoke engulfed the rear portion of the factory building which collapsed. It contained inflammable material like acid and plastic used for making batteries, police said. The cause of the fire is being investigated. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW DELHI • A factory manufacturing batteries in the Indian capital New Delhi caught fire and collapsed yesterday, killing one firefighter and injuring at least 19 people, officials said.

A fire department official said three people were rescued from the debris of the building in the Peera Garhi area in western New Delhi.

Thirty-five fire engines were rushed to the site and it took firefighters more than 10 hours to douse the blaze, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information.

Mr Arvind Kejriwal, New Delhi state's top elected official, said in a tweet that one of the injured firefighters had died.

The fire service control room said 19 firefighters were injured and one of them later died in a hospital. One security guard was also injured in the fire, which broke out in the basement of the building.

Police said the rescue work was over. They said there were no workers in the building when the fire broke out at around 4am local time.

Heavy smoke engulfed the rear portion of the building which collapsed. It contained inflammable materials such as acid and plastic used for making batteries, police said, adding that the cause of the fire was being investigated.

Eyewitness Deepu Pandey said many explosions could be heard coming from the building until it finally collapsed at around 9am.

"The basement in this building is large as the entire stock of batteries used to be stored there. That's why we can still hear explosions every now and then," said factory supervisor Sarvan Maurya.

 

Poor safety standards are a frequent cause of fires in India.

This is the third major blaze in the Indian capital in less than a month.

Last month, a fire believed to be caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in New Delhi, killing at least 43 people.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2020, with the headline 'Fireman dies in blaze at Delhi factory'. Print Edition | Subscribe