Indian police have arrested two owners of a company that manufactures and sells surveillance cameras after a massive fire broke out in their office in a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital, killing 27 people and injuring 12 others.
NEW DELHI – Police have arrested two owners of a company that manufactures and sells security cameras after a massive fire broke out in their office in a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital, killing 27 people and injuring 12 others, police and fire officials. Saturday said.
The police registered a guilty murder case that did not amount to murder and a criminal conspiracy, punishable by life imprisonment or 10 years in prison.
Atul Garg, director of Delhi Fire Services, said the building did not have a permit from the fire department and was not equipped with fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.
Garg said the fire broke out on the first floor of the building on Friday evening and quickly spread to other areas where flammable plastics were stored for manufacturing equipment including security cameras and a large amount of carton used for packaging.
The fire control room said at least 50 people were rescued from the building, which mainly houses shops. The building is located in Mundka district in western New Delhi.
Fires are common in India, where builders and residents often violate building codes and safety standards. In 2019, a fire caused by a short circuit broke out in a building in New Delhi and killed 43 people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the loss of life and wished a speedy recovery to the 12 injured who were taken to hospital.
Quoting police officer Sameer Sharma, the Press Trust of India reported that Harish Goel and his brother Varun Jo were initially detained for questioning and later arrested.
Sachin Garg, a resident of the area, said the building only had one exit door, and people trapped there found it difficult to leave quickly due to the crowding. “They called in ambulances and fire officials used buckets of cranes to save people,” he said.
Satbir Lakra, another resident, said several men and women broke the glass walls and jumped to the ground floor.
Garg said the building was located in an area crowded with industrial units and it took some time for firefighters to reach the site.
Twenty-seven fire trucks put out the flames after a fight that lasted more than five hours. The firefighting room said that the search operation continued throughout the night to search for anyone trapped under the rubble.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, and the investigation is still ongoing.
Garg said there were conflicting reports. Some said the fire broke out after an air conditioner exploded, others said it was caused by a short circuit.