Factory Fire in India Leaves 43 Dead

Officials said most of those killed who died were sleeping on floors and were overcome by smoke at the New Delhi factory.

India Fire
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NEW DELHI — At least 43 people have died in a fire in a factory in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday, police said.

Most of the dead were workers who were sleeping on various floors of the four-story building located in a narrow lane of the Anaj Mandi area, Delhi Police spokesman MS Randhawa said.

“More than 60 people were taken out, 43 of them have died mostly due to inhaling toxic smoke,” Randhawa said. About 15 to 20 people were being treated at nearby hospitals.

“There was a lot of highly inflammable plastic material and paper in the workshops and these created a lot of toxic fumes. Two of our policemen and two firemen were also affected and are in hospital,” Randhawa said.

Rescue operations were over and forensic teams would be examining the area as soon as it cooled down.

The dead and injured were largely workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, federal Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri said at the site of the accident.

Randhawa said the Delhi Police and Fire Brigade were alerted about the fire at 5:22 a.m. (23:52 GMT) and reached the scene within minutes. More than 30 firefighters were used to douse the fire.

“Prima facie it appears the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit,” Randhawa said.

The exact cause of the fire would be known after an investigation which would be completed within seven days, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal announced compensation of 1 million rupees (about $14,000) to the family members of the dead and 100,000 rupees each to the injured.

“The fire in Delhi’s Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road is extremely horrific. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Accidents and fires are fairly common in India where safety standards are often disregarded. Poor fire protection devices, missing emergency exits and outdated electrical systems are not uncommon.

At least 13 people were killed and 64 more were injured after explosions ripped through a chemical factory in western India in September.


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