Government

Bawana Fire: 17 Dead in Blaze at Firecracker Storage Unit in Delhi, Owner Arrested

The fire, which started at the storage unit on the ground floor of a two-story building ripped through the structure; ten women and seven men were killed.

Fire fighters and media outside the two-storey cracker factory which caught fire in north Delhi's Bawana Industrial Area on Saturday. Credit: PTI

Fire fighters and media outside the two-storey cracker factory which caught fire in north Delhi’s Bawana Industrial Area on Saturday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The police have arrested the owner of the firecracker storage unit in Delhi’s Bawana industrial area where 17 people were killed in a massive blaze yesterday.

Manoj Jain, who ran the factory, has been arrested. A probe revealed it was a factory of “cold firecrackers” used in stage shows and Holi celebrations, said Rajneesh Gupta, deputy commissioner of police (Rohini).

Firecracker packages found at the site suggest the same, he said.

Jain had rented the factory from January 1, the DCP said.

Seven of those killed have been identified as Baby Devi (40), Afshana (35), Sonam (23), Reeta (18), Nadeen (55), Rakho (65) and Dharma Devi (45), he said.

The fire, which started at the storage unit on the ground floor of a two-story building, ripped through the structure, the official said. Ten women and seven men were killed, a fire official said, noting that a man and woman have been injured.

The two injured have been admitted to a hospital. The police also confirmed 17 people were killed and said an FIR has been registered. An investigation is on to ascertain the cause of the blaze, they said. The Delhi Fire Services received a call about the fire at the factory around 6.20 pm yesterday and ten fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the fire department said.

G.C. Mishra, director, Delhi Fire Service, said the building comprised a basement, ground floor and two upper floors. “One body was recovered from the basement, three from the ground floor and 13 from the first floor. One person sustained fractures after he jumped from the second floor to save himself,” he said.

Mishra said the fire was doused by 9.20 pm but search and rescue operations were underway. “We are taking no chance. We don’t have a definite number of people who were in the building when the fire broke out,” he said.

The police said the people were either charred or got choked to death. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish at the death of people in the fire. “My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May those who are injured recover quickly,” the prime minister’s office tweeted quoting Modi.

Several leaders from the BJP visited the site, and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased.

AAP chief Kejriwal, who visited the site late last night said the truth will come out only after the enquiry, which has been ordered by the government.

A compensation of Rs 5 lakh each will be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives and Rs 1 lakh each to the two injured persons, he told reporters.


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Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain also visited the site and met the two survivors at the hospital.

“Prima facie it appears packaging of the fire crackers were going on, but no machines have been found,” he said.

Prior to Kejriwal, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and party’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari headed to Bawana.

“Visited the site of #BawanaFire and #MahirshiValmikiHospital at Pooth Khurd, where two of the injured are being treated, 24-year-old Roop Prakash and 45- year-old Sunita. Both have fractures on their legs and would require surgical interventions. Appear to be out of danger,” Vardhan tweeted.

“Saddened at the loss of 17 lives in the Bawana cracker factory fire. My thoughts are with the families of the persons killed in the mishap. Government should enforce strict safety regulations to such hazardous industries to avoid at least future accidents,” Vardhan said.

North Delhi mayor Preety Agarwal also visited the site and took a swipe at Kejriwal as the area falls under Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation.

“He calls himself messiah of the poor. Where is he now. Where is the AAP MLA of Bawana,” she had said earlier, before Kejriwal reached the site.

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