Deadly fire at New Delhi commercial building claims at least 27 lives

A massive fire erupted Friday evening in a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital, killing at least 27 people and leaving several injured.

Dozens of people have been rescued from the building, which primarily contains shops. The building is located in the Mundka area in western New Delhi.

The Press Trust of India news agency said 12 people suffered burns in the fire and 50 were evacuated from the building.

Twenty-seven fire engines doused the flames after battling for more than five hours. A search operation continued to look for anyone trapped in the rubble.

Cause not immediately clear

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

“Distressed by the tragic fire accident at a building near Mundka Metro Station in Delhi. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish for speedy recovery of the injured,” Indian President Ram Nath Kovind posted on Twitter.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “extremely saddened by the loss of lives.”

Atul Garg, director of Delhi Fire Services, said the building had no clearance from the fire department and it was not equipped with fire safety equipment such as extinguishers.

The casualties occurred on the building’s second floor, where inflammable plastic material used for manufacturing equipment such as security cameras was stored.

The Indian Express newspaper said two owners of a company selling security cameras were detained for questioning as the fire reportedly started from their office. There was no immediate confirmation by police.

Fires are common in India, where building laws and safety norms are often flouted by builders and residents.

In 2019, a fire caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in New Delhi and killed 43 people.

Deadly fire at New Delhi commercial building claims at least 27 lives
Firefighters carry a ladder outside of a commercial building in New Delhi that was the scene of a deadly fire that killed at least 27 people on Friday. (Reuters)

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