At least 27 people were killed and 12 injured after a fire broke out at a four-storey commercial building in Mundka in west Delhi on Friday night, police said.
Police have yet to release any information about the identities of the victims. The injured have been admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. At least 50 people were rescued from the building and some were still trapped inside, police said.
The Delhi Fire Department deployed cranes to rescue those trapped in the blaze. However, smoke from the fire spread throughout the building and some people jumped through the windows to save themselves, while others used ropes to climb down.
The fire started on the first floor of the building, which houses the office of a manufacturer of CCTV cameras and routers, Deputy Police Commissioner (Outer) Sameer Sharma said.
The owners of the company – Harish Goel and Varun Goel – have been arrested, police said. The building owner, who did not have a security clearance from the fire service, has been identified as Manish Lakra and is on the run, police said.
When the fire broke out, a motivational speech was delivered on the second floor. Many people attended this program. So most of the deaths occurred on this floor, the preliminary investigation has indicated.
According to the fire service, information about the fire came in around 4.40 pm, after which 24 fire trucks arrived on the scene.
The divisional officer of the fire department said there was only one flight of stairs that prevented people from escaping the building.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi are among several politicians mourning the loss of lives in the tragic incident.
The Prime Minister has said that Rs 2 lakh each will be given to the families of those who have lost their lives. The injured will receive Rs 50,000, his office tweeted.
Interior Minister Amit Shah said he is in constant contact with authorities and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been called in.
With inputs from NDTV