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HomeDelhiFire, blast at Narela factory leave 3 dead | Latest News Delhi

Fire, blast at Narela factory leave 3 dead | Latest News Delhi

A massive fire triggered an explosion at a food processing unit at Narela Industrial Area in outer Delhi in the early hours of Saturday, police officers and fire officials said, adding that three people were killed and six others were injured in the incident.

The gutted factory in Narela on Saturday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

According to police, the fire engulfed the four-storey building at around 3.15 am, when 23 labourers were working at the factory. The blaze quickly spread, and though some managed to escape, the fire triggered a blast in a compressor, which led to the death of three workers, with six others grievously hurt, the officers said.

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The deceased were identified as Beerpal Sharma, 42, Shyam Singh, 24, and Ram Singh, 30. Deputy commissioner of police (outer north) Ravi Kumar Singh said the injured have been admitted to Safdarjung Hospital.

Fire officials said a leak from a gas pipeline on the ground floor of Shayam Kripa Foods Pvt Ltd triggered the fire that spread to the other floors and reached the compressor, which then exploded.

The surviving workers, who said they were hired to dry moong dal and process it for storage and packaging, have alleged that they used to work in small rooms on the second and third floors which did not have windows, and that their employers would lock the main gate of the factory from outside, investigators said.

Pushpender Singh, 30, who was among the six injured, said he and the others were working when the fire broke out. “Before we could control the fire, there was a blast. The impact was such that many workers were thrown against the wall,” he said.

Police said that they have arrested factory owners, Ankit Gupta and Vinay Gupta.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) chief Atul Garg said the four-storey building violated several rules — it had no fire or emergency exits for workers, and there were no fire safety equipment or measures at the unit, which was operating without a valid fire permit.

“Locals alerted us about the incident around 3.30am. A total of 16 fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the blaze was doused by 6am. We rescued four to five people, and the others escaped on their own,” Garg said.

Officials said the fire started from the front end of the factory, where a massive iron gate was found locked from the outside, with no other exit. They said a preliminary probe has revealed that a staircase, which could have been used as an exit, was blocked as boxes and other equipment were kept there.

“During the rescue operation, it was difficult to access the stairs as the equipment kept there also caught fire, thereby blocking the way,” a fire official on condition of anonymity said.

Fire officials said at least four buildings in the vicinity were incinerated in the fire.

“The fire affected the restaurant first and soon spread to adjacent buildings, gutting all of them. We had received the first call about the fire at around 5.45pm and initially sent 12 fire tenders. We faced multiple issues at the site, including narrow lanes and huge crowds outside the building, which hindered the dousing operation,” said DFS chief Garg.

“There are no casualties as of now…We are still checking the buildings,” he added.

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