New Delhi: At least 27 people were killed and dozens injured in a massive fire broke out in a four-storey commercial building near Mundka metro station in west Delhi on Friday.
With firefighting and rescue operations on until late Friday night, officials feared the toll could increase.
Videos clips showed people sliding down walls using ropes, some jumping to escape the raging fire.
People, gathered on the road below, watched in utter shock and disbelief as those trapped took the extreme step. Firemen could be seen dangling the ladder as the men and women waited to be rescued.
The fire broke out around 4.40 pm from the first floor of the building. The National Disaster Response Force troops have been pressed into service.
Highly combustible material and a narrow passage posed a huge challenge to the rescue operation and made escape from the inferno difficult.
“The fire started on the first floor of the building which had an office of Cofe Impex Private Limited, a CCTV cameras and router manufacturing company,” said the DCP, Outer, Sameer Sharma.
Police have filed an FIR and detained the company owners, Harish Goel and Varun Goel. A special investigation team has been constituted to probe the incident, TOI reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have mourned the loss of lives.
“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted at night.
He said Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund will be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives, and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
“Shocked and pained to know abt this tragic incident. I am constantly in touch wid officers. Our brave firemen are trying their best to control the fire and save lives. God bless all,” tweeted Chief Minister Kejriwal.