Delhi fire: 8 victims identified, probe points towards short circuit

New Delhi: Eight persons have been identified out of 11 charred bodies that were recovered from a paint factory cum warehouse in Delhi’s Alipur area, where a massive fire broke out on February 15 evening.

The eight victims have been identified as: owner of the factory Ashok Kumar (62), Ram Surat Singh (44), Vishal Gaund (19), Anil Thakur (46), Pankaj Kumar (29), Shubham (19), Mira (44) and Brijkishore (19).

An official privy to the probe said that initial findings suggest the fire likely originated from a short circuit, subsequently spreading to an area storing chemicals, resulting in multiple explosions.

“It is also suspected that the owner of the unit – Om Sun Paint, operating since 2017, used to lock the door from inside and there was no other escape route in case of such an incident in the factory,” said the sources.

The deceased included Jain and his 10 employees while the injured, who were vacated from nearby establishments, have been identified as Jyoti (42), Divya (20), Mohit Solanki (34) and Delhi Police Constable Karamveer.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has declared a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for each deceased person’s family and has also visited the site to assess the situation.

Expressing condolences to the bereaved families, Kejriwal said, “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the deceased. We pledge Rs 10 lakh for each family. Additionally, Rs 20,000 will be given to those with minor injuries, and Rs 2 lakh to those with severe injuries.”

A delegation from the Delhi BJP, led by its Chief Virendra Sachdeva, also visited the affected individuals of the Alipur fire incident and announced financial assistance.

The BJP leader said that Rs 50,000 will be given to each deceased for funeral expenses and Rs 25,000 for medical treatment of the injured.

The Delhi BJP President has also urged the Arvind Kejriwal government to provide Rs 25 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased and Rs 10 lakh to the injured.

Atul Garg, Director of Delhi Fire Service (DFS), said that a call regarding the blaze was received at 5:26 p.m on Thursday.

He said that at least 22 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, which managed to douse the flame by 9 p.m.

“The fire had engulfed two paint and chemical godowns and eight shops. At least 11 charred bodies were removed and taken to the Babu Jagjivan Ram hospital while four injured were taken to the Raja Harish Chandra Hospital for treatment,” he said.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Outer North Ravi Kumar Singh said that a major fire had initially broken out in Nehru Enclave, Alipur in a paint factory on Thursday.

“On receiving the information, the police team reached the spot and saw that the fire had spread to a number of other buildings, including the neighbouring ‘Nasha Mukti Kendra’, where four to five people were trapped in fire,” said the DCP.

“Constable Karamveer, rushed to the top of the ‘Nasha Mukti Kendra’ putting his own life in danger and managed to get the trapped people out. He sustained injuries, including burn injuries and is now admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital,” said the official, adding that three injured people from the nearby building have been referred to the LNJP hospital.

The DCP said that NDRF along with the fire department had also reached the spot and conducted a search operation in the burnt buildings.

“The factory owner’s son Akhil Jain, a resident of Sonipat has been booked under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Alipur police station,” said the official.

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