7 dead in India slum fire

A major fire swept through a slum in the Indian capital in the small hours of Saturday, claiming seven lives and destroying 60 thatched huts thus rendering hundreds homeless.

The fire broke out at the slumtown in Delhi’s Gokalpuri area around 12.45am when most of the residents were fast asleep, police and fire service officials said.

Smoke engulfed the area as the fire quickly spread and small cooking gas cylinders kept in the huts exploded. Within an hour, half of the slumtown was reduced to charred debris.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (northeast) Devesh Kumar Mahla told the local media that the cops were alerted about the blaze around 1am.

“Immediately teams reached the spot with all rescue equipment. We also contacted the fire department that responded very well,” he said.

As many as 13 fire tenders were pressed into service within minutes but it took them three hours to contain the blaze. “We could douse the fire by 4am,” he said.

Fire officials said they found seven charred bodies at the site. “As many as 60 huts were completely gutted in the fire. A probe has been ordered into the fire,” an official said.

Local TV channels beamed footage of the slum dwellers searching through the ashes for their belongings.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to express grief over the deaths. “Heard the sad news early in the morning. I will go to the spot and meet the affected people personally,” he tweeted.

Fires in India’s slum areas are common because of lax enforcement of inferno safety regulations.

Source: United News of Bangladesh