Indian police arrest two after deadly building fire in New Delhi

Two suspected fire safety breaches have been arrested in connection with a blaze at a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital.

Police arrest two people in connection with fire at a four-storey commercial building in the Indian capital At least 27 deadpolice and fire officials said.

Buildings in the Mundka area on the western outskirts of the city were engulfed in flames on Friday night and 12 others were injured, Delhi Fire Chief Atul Garg told reporters on Saturday.

The building does not have a fire department security clearance and is not equipped with fire safety equipment, Garg said, adding that the fire started on the ground floor, where a company that makes security cameras is located.

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

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

Police registered a guilty homicide that did not amount to murder and a criminal conspiracy punishable by life imprisonment or 10 years in prison.

Fire Chief Garg said all 27 bodies were recovered from the second floor, where people who attended the motivational meeting were killed in the fire.

As the bodies were badly burned, only five victims have been identified so far, he said, adding that rescue efforts were over.

The fire control room said at least 50 people were rescued from the building, which is mostly shops.

Fire safety codes are often flouted

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

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

India’s prime minister has promised 200,000 rupees ($2,580) in compensation to the victim’s next of kin.

Sachin Garg, a resident of the area, said there was only one exit from the building, and people trapped there would be squeezed to get out quickly. “They called an ambulance and fire officials used buckets to save people,” he said.

Another resident, Satbir Lakra, said several men and women smashed the glass wall and jumped to the first floor.

Fire Chief Garg said the building was in a crowded area of ‚Äč‚Äčindustrial units and it took time for fire trucks to reach the scene.

Twenty-seven fire trucks put out the flames after more than five hours of fighting. Search and rescue operations continued overnight to find people trapped in the rubble, the fire control room said.

The cause of the fire is not known and is under investigation.

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