At least 43 dead in blaze at fac­tory

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - GRACE HAM­MOND NEWS RE­PORTER ■ Email: yp­news­desk@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

IN­DIA: At least 43 peo­ple have died in a fire at a fac­tory in New Delhi, thought to have been caused by an elec­tri­cal fault.

The work­ers were trapped in­side the build­ing near Sadar Bazaar, the In­dian cap­i­tal’s largest whole­sale mar­ket for house­hold goods. Rel­a­tives had to iden­tify the dead from pho­tos on po­lice of­fi­cers’ phones.

AT LEAST 43 peo­ple have died in a fire at a fac­tory in New Delhi which is be­lieved to have been caused by an elec­tri­cal fault.

The work­ers were trapped in­side the build­ing near Sadar Bazaar, the In­dian cap­i­tal’s largest whole­sale mar­ket for house­hold goods. Rel­a­tives had to iden­tify the dead from pho­tos on po­lice of­fi­cers’ phones.

The build­ing’s owner, Ri­han, who goes by one name, was de­tained on sus­pi­cion of cul­pa­ble homi­cide not amount­ing to mur­der.

Fire­fight­ers had to fight the blaze from 100 me­tres away be­cause it broke out in one of the area’s many al­ley­ways, which is tan­gled in elec­tri­cal wire and too nar­row for ve­hi­cles to ac­cess.

Some of the work­ers’ rel­a­tives had re­ceived phone calls from the men trapped in­side, who begged them to call the fire brigade. Many of the men were mi­grant work­ers from the im­pov­er­ished bor­der state of Bi­har in east­ern In­dia, rel­a­tives said.

They earned as lit­tle as 150 ru­pees (£1.59) per day mak­ing hand­bags, caps and other gar­ments, sleep­ing at the fac­tory be­tween long shifts. Many of the vic­tims were asleep when the blaze be­gan, po­lice said.

As­sis­tant New Delhi po­lice com­mis­sioner Anil Ku­mar Mit­tal said “the fire ap­pears to have been caused by elec­tric short cir­cuit”, adding that au­thor­i­ties were in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the fac­tory was op­er­at­ing legally.

Res­i­dent Mo­hammed Naush

ad said he was awo­ken by peo­ple wail­ing at about 4.30am on Sun­day. He went out­side to find smoke and flames shoot­ing out of the build­ing and, in­side, he found the fourth floor en­gulfed in flames. One floor be­low, he saw “20 to 25 peo­ple ly­ing on the floor”.

Six­teen peo­ple were be­ing treated for burns or smoke in­hala­tion.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi de­scribed the fire as “ex­tremely hor­rific.”

“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wish­ing the in­jured a quick re­cov­ery,” Mr Modi tweeted.

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