‘Fire Engulfed the Only Exit’: Eyewitnesses Relate Anaj Mandi Fire
Panic, narrow lanes and the only exit engulfed in fire – eyewitnesses of the Anaj Mandi fire speak to The Quint.
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad
Video Producer: Hera Khan
Rani Jhansi Road in Delhi’s Anaj Mandi area was the spot of a massive fire on the morning of Sunday, 8 December. At least 43 people have been killed in the fire and many have been injured.
While the police is still trying to ascertain the cause of the fire, The Quint spoke to several eyewitnesses who related the story of narrow lanes, enmeshed cables, and hazardous working conditions.
‘People Were Panicking’
Nazimuddin, a resident of the area, said, “Although this is a completely residential area, there are about 10-12 factories in that lane.”
He found out about the fire on television. He said,
“I reached the spot at around 7:30 in the morning. The rescue operations were underway and people were in a state of panic. I am hearing that a short circuit had caused the fire.”
‘No Provisions to Ensure Safety of Workers’
Another eyewitness Mohammad Kamil expressed concern over the lack of provisions to ensure the safety of factory workers. “Mostly, daily-wage labourers work in these factories and the working conditions remain hazardous. There is no system of checks and measures,” he mentioned.
“Such incidents keep happening here. Another similar fire broke out seven months ago. Although it wasn’t as big as this one, two people reportedly died in that fire.”Mohammad Kamil, Eyewitness
‘Multiple People Died of Suffocation’
Nirale, who reached the site of the incident early in the morning, told The Quint that most of the people died due to suffocation as there was no way through which the building could be exited.
“There was a small exit which caught fire. So, people were trapped inside which led to most of them dying due to suffocation,” he said. “It was the second floor of the factory building which caught fire and the fire brigade took at least two hours to reach the spot,” he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of those who lost their lives, and Rs 1 lakh for the injured. Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari, while visiting the spot of the incident, also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for those killed and Rs 25,000 for the injured. PM Modi has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of those killed in the fire as well.
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