Two people died and five more were injured after a firecracker warehouse caught fire in Kadipur industrial area on Sunday night. Of the injured, two are critical with more than 80% percent burn injuries while the remaining are out of danger, the police said on Monday evening.
The police have arrested the owner of the warehouse and his son, and charged them with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and attempt to culpable homicide, as well as sections of the Explosives Act.
According to the police, the fire broke out around 9.30pm, when batches of firecrackers in the presence of highly inflammable snow sprays were being loaded on to a mini truck at the site.
Sumer Singh, deputy commissioner of police (west), said the exact cause of the fire may only be ascertained once samples from the site are tested in the forensic science laboratory (FSL).
Singh, however, ruled out the possibility of a leakage in the CNG cylinder of the mini truck as the cause of the fire, contrary to initial speculation. He said the cylinder was found intact in the mini truck, while the top portion of the vehicle was mostly charred.
“One person died at the spot while six injured were taken to hospitals in Gurugram and New Delhi. One person has died during treatment at Safdarjung Hospital, two more are critical with more than 80% burn injuries. The blast and physics division of the FSL have taken samples from the site, and the exact cause of fire can only be determined after relevant tests are complete,” Singh said.
The warehouse is situated on a 200 square yard plot. It has a main office near the entrance, and an empty space in the middle used for loading and unloading fire crackers onto and from vehicles.
One tin shed at the warehouse, which was stacked with firecrackers, also caught fire and was gutted completely. The fire though did not spread to the room on the right of the shed, a corridor and three rooms in the left, all of which stored firecrackers and cement packets.
Singh said the warehouse was licensed and had a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the explosives department in Faridabad, valid till 2022. He said investigations in the matter are ongoing.
The warehouse, Lucky Kataria Fire Works Dealer, is located in ‘patakha’ market in Kadipur industrial area and has several firecracker warehouses in the vicinity.
The police have arrested Bharat Bhushan Kataria, the owner of the warehouse, as well as his son Amit, based on the complaint of one of the injured persons, Kanhaiya Lal. A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempt to culpable homicide and relevant sections of the Explosives Act has been registered against them.
The police identified the deceased who died at the spot as Nepal Manto, from Begusarai in Bihar. He worked as a security guard at the warehouse.
Satar Ramji, who belonged to Ajmer in Rajasthan, died during treatment in the hospital on early Monday morning. The police said he came to the warehouse in the mini truck from Uttam Nagar in west Delhi to load firecrackers on to the vehicle.
Anil, a resident of Delhi, and Shailender Mishra, a native of Bareily in Uttar Pradesh suffered in excess of 80% burns and are critical, are being treated at Safdarjung Hospital.
Mishra was employed as a daily wage earner in the warehouse while Anil had come to the site in the mini truck.
Sanju Rajender, a resident of Delhi and the driver of the mini truck, Kanhaiya Lal and Lal Bahadur both of Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, who were employed as daily wage earners in the warehouse were taken to nearby hospitals. Their condition is stable, the police said.
The police said apart from Manto, all the men are in their late-30s. The seven were the only ones in the warehouse at the time.
As per fire department officials, they received a call about the fire around 9.45 pm. Four fire tenders — three from Sector 37, and one from Bhim Nagar — were sent to the spot. Only one tender was used.
“We were able to douse the fire in under 10 minutes as it was confined to one part of the warehouse. We prevented it from spreading to nearby rooms, which were stacked with firecrackers, in time,” IS Kashyap, assistant divisional fire safety officer, said.
Apr 16, 2019 05:09 IST
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