Another Avoidable Tragedy: Fire in Building with Illegal Units in Heart of City Kills 43
New Delhi: In the capital’s worst fire tragedy in 20 years, at least 43 people were killed at Filmistan’s Anaj Mandi area in central Delhi early Sunday morning, when a blaze caused by a short-circuit turned a five-storeyed building where 100 to 150 workers were sleeping into a lethal gas chamber, choking most of the victims to death. It was a disaster waiting to happen. The building housed over a dozen illegal manufacturing units and warehouses being run from ill-ventilated rooms filled with combustible materials. There was just one narrow entrance to the building spread across an area of 500 square yards, which ensured that fire trucks and officials didn’t have proper access to the site. Fire and Delhi Police officials said the fire started on the second floor around 4.30am and quickly spread through stacks of paper, cardboard, plastic and other items lying around. The units doubled up as residence for the labourers at night.
Before many of the workers on the third and fourth floors could realise what was happening, they had passed out as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials said a total of 64 people were rescued from the building by firemen and sent to LNJP, Lady Hardinge, RML and other hospitals. Out of these, 43 had died, 39 of them due to asphyxiation. However, a majority of the workers were sleeping on the ground and first floors, and escaped without injuries. Delhi Police said the owner of the building, Rehan, along with the manager, Furkaan, were arrested and a case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) registered. Monika Bhardwaj, deputy commissioner of police (north), said a major part of the building was owned by Rehan while two small portions on different floors were owned by two other people.
Courage Under Fire: 2 Personnel Save 27 Lives
BREAVEHEART: Health minister Satyendar Jain meets Rajesh Shukla.
New Delhi: Braving low visibility and killing heat inside the building, the two brave firefighters—Rajesh Shukla and Ashish Malik managed to rescue 11and 16 people, respectively. Shukla even sustained injuries while rescuing people. Malik said since the visibility was low inside the building, they had to feel their way in order to identify where people were in the hall area. “We rescued workers by carrying them on our shoulders. Some had to be dragged. Firefighters made multiple trips into the building and had to take a risk despite the floor becoming unstable,” said Malik. Shukla, an assistant divisional officer, Old Delhi has been firefighting for the last 14 years. “When we reached the spot, the building was engulfed in smoke and there was low visibility,” said Shukla. Fire operator Ashish Malik was a part of the second turnout team which reached the location after the fire entered the ‘make 4 level.’ He successfully managed to locate 16 people. “We kept on moving inside even though it was tough as the area was packed with materials. We had to ensure no one was stuck in between the goods. The visibility was extremely low and we had to rely on our senses. In search of people we would even touch the floor. The most affected was the third and the fourth floor. On the third floor, it looked like labourers were sleeping close to each other. We rescued them one by one so that no injuries were caused. The body temperature of all of them was higher than normal,” he said.
Base Shooter Showed Mass Attack Clips at Dinner Party
Pensacola: The Saudi student who fatally shot three sailors at a US naval base in Florida hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, a US official said on Saturday. Officials probing the attack were working on Saturday to determine whether it was motivated by terrorism, while President Trump indicated he would review policies governing foreign military training in US. The official who spoke on Saturday said that one of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place. Ten Saudi students were being held on Saturday while several others were unaccounted for, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The FBI identified the shooter as Mohammed Alshamrani, 21. Investigators said he was a 2nd Lt in the royal Saudi air force.