New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Four persons, including two 17-year-olds, were killed when a fire engulfed a four-storey factory here early on Monday, police said. The owner of the factory was arrested later in the day.
Mohammad Razi, 20, Mohammad Shamu, 17, Mehbooob Barish, 18, and Ayub, 17, all hailing from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, died of suffocation and burn injuries, the police said. The four were among the workers who lived in the factory premises.
The owner of the factory Biresh Gupta, 45, was arrested in the night after questioning, according to police.
The police said that prima facie the fire started due to an electrical short circuit around 6.30 a.m. at the Raja Park factory in Sultanpuri, which made shoe and sandal uppers. Nine fire tenders doused the fire by 9.50 a.m., a fire officer added.
Area residents told IANS that they rescued around 15-20 workers from the first and second floors but had no knowledge about the four trapped on the ground floor.
A senior police officer said the factory owner had a few documents from the Municipal Corporation to run the factory, located in a densely populated residential area.
“We are looking into whether these documents were enough to run the factory. We are still examining whether the factory is legal or illegal,” Deputy Commissioner of Police M.N. Tiwari earlier told IANS.
The area is home to dozens of houses and other factories which make jeans and uppers of shoes and sandals.
Labourers working in the building said many factories are run from multi-storey buildings in the locality.
District administration and police officials said the chances of factories getting proper licences to run businesses in the area are slim.
Ali Mohammad, brother of Razi, said: “He was sleeping along with four others in a room on the first floor when the fire broke out. One of them woke up on hearing the commotion and tried to wake up the others before escaping but they were fast asleep and died.”
As many as 17 people, including 10 women, were burnt to death or asphyxiated and 30 others injured in a fire in a plastic warehouse, also used as a godown to store firecrackers, in west Delhi’s Bawana area on January 20.