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

Two people suspected of violating fire safety rules have been 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-storey commercial building in the Indian capital that killed at least 27, police and fire officials have said.

Twelve others were injured in the fire that engulfed the building in the Mundka area of ​​the western suburbs of the city on Friday night, Delhi Fire Chief Atul Garg told reporters on Saturday.

The building did not have a security clearance from the fire department, nor was it equipped with fire protection equipment, Garg said, adding that the fire started on the first floor, which is home to 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 property has fled.

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

Police registered a case of culpable homicide that does not amount to murder and a criminal conspiracy that is punishable by life imprisonment or 10 years in prison.

All 27 bodies were recovered on the second floor, where people attending a motivational gathering were trapped by the fire, said Garg, the chief of the fire service.

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

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

Often violated fire safety standards

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

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

The Indian Prime Minister promised 200,000 rupees ($2,580) in compensation to the relatives of the victims.

Sachin Garg, a resident in the area, said the building only had one exit door and people trapped there found it difficult to leave quickly because of a crush. “They called ambulances and firefighters used crane buckets to rescue people,” he said.

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

The building is in a congested area with industrial units, and the fire engines took time to reach the site, said Garg, the fire chief.

Twenty-seven fire trucks have extinguished the flames after more than five hours of fighting. A search continued overnight to look for people trapped in the rubble, the fire control room said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear and is under investigation.

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