Indian police arrest two after deadly building fire in New Delhi | News

Two people suspected of breaching fire safety regulations arrested in connection with the massive fire at a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital.

Police have arrested two people in connection with a massive fire at a four-story commercial building in the Indian capital that left at least 27 people dead, police and fire officials said.

Twelve more were injured in the fire that engulfed the building in the Mundka area in the city’s western suburbs on Friday night, Delhi Fire Services chief Atul Garg told reporters on Saturday.

The building did not have a security clearance from the fire department or was equipped with fire safety equipment, Garg said, adding that the fire started on the first floor, which houses a company that makes security cameras.

Two brothers, owners of the company, were arrested by police, according to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the site on Saturday. The owner of the building has fled.

More than 75 people were in the building when the fire broke out Friday night. Some jumped out of windows to save themselves, according to witnesses, and firefighters broke glass and rescued people with ropes.

The police registered a case of culpable homicide not constituting murder and conspiracy to commit a crime that is punishable by life imprisonment or 10 years in prison.

The 27 bodies were recovered from the second floor where people attending a motivational meeting were caught in the fire, said Garg, the Fire Services chief.

Only five victims have been identified so far because the bodies were badly burned, he said, adding that the rescue work was over.

At least 50 people were rescued from the building, which contained mainly shops, the fire control room said.

Fire safety regulations are often flouted

Fires have been common in India, where building laws and safety regulations have often been flouted by builders and residents. In 2019, a fire caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in New Delhi, killing 43 people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the loss of life and wished a speedy recovery for the 12 injured who have been hospitalized.

The Indian prime minister has promised 200,000 rupees ($2,580) in compensation for the families of the victims.

Sachin Garg, a resident of the area, said the building only had one exit door and people trapped there found it difficult to get out quickly due to the overcrowding. “Ambulances were called and firefighters used buckets from cranes to rescue people,” he said.

Satbir Lakra, another resident, said several men and women broke through glass walls and jumped to the ground floor.

The building is located in a congested area with industrial units and fire trucks were slow to arrive at the scene, said Garg, the fire services chief.

Twenty-seven fire trucks doused the flames after battling for more than five hours. A search operation continued overnight to look for anyone trapped in the debris, the fire control room said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear and is being investigated.

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