Victims die due to suffocation n 8 fire tenders take 2 hrs to douse flames.
New Delhi: Four family members, including two minor children, were killed and three injured in a major fire that broke out in a multi-storey building in Northwest Delhi’s Pitampura area on Friday morning.
The injured, including a 90-year-old man, who was rushed to Rohini’s Ambedkar Hospital, are reported to be out of danger.
The tragedy struck Kohat Enclave at about 2.40 am when a fire broke out on the stilt floor where cars had been parked. Investigation reveal that a security guard, who saw a spark in the electricity meter on the ground floor of the building, had alerted the residents.
While the residents moved out of the building, witnesses said that the victim’s family did not respond either to the doorbell or phone calls. By the time the victims realised they had been trapped, it was too late for them to move out to a safer location.
The police has identified the deceased as Rakesh Nagpal (40), a businessman who ran a clothing shop in Chandni Chowk; his wife Tina (37); their eight-year-old son Himanshu; and three-year-old daughter Shreya.
A senior police officer said that the victims died owing to suffocation after they were trapped inside their flat on the first floor of the building. Their bodies have been sent for autopsy. A forensic team has also picked up samples from the spot to determine the cause of the fire.
The residents alleged that though the fire station was only 2 km from the spot, it took nearly an hour for the fire tenders to reach the site. They also alleged that the caller, who informed the control room, received a cold response from the fire department.
“The person who attended the call at the fire department asked the caller whether it was necessary for them to visit the spot,” a resident is said to have told police.
The police are also trying to ascertain whether there was any delay in the rescue operations.
Residents said that the timely alert by the security guard saved the lives of the other families. The guard reportedly ran to each floor, rang the doorbells and asked the families to evacuate the building.
While the families living on the first floor, third floor, and fourth floor managed to save themselves, Mr Nagpal’s family woke up too late. The guard reportedly woke up Mr Nagpal’s wife and two children. “But by then smoke had engulfed their entire flat,” a witness told the police. It took nearly two hours for the firefighters to douse the flames. In all, eight fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the fire under control.