08/12/2019 10:13 GMT

'Horrific' Fire Kills 43 At Delhi Handbag Factory

Many of the victims were labourers sleeping above the factory, according to local media reports.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters
Members of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) head towards the site of the fire. 

At least 43 people have been killed after a “horrific” fire broke out in a Delhi six-storey handbag factory in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Police told PTI – the country’s largest news agency – that 59 people had been inside the factory, which was operating in residential area of the city, many of whom who were sleeping. 

Thirty fire crews were sent to the site, and more than 50 victims taken to hospital, however 32 people died after leaving the scene, The Hindureported.

The number of people

The factory was making handbags and lots of raw material was stored inside the building due to which the fire spread quickly, local media reported. It is not yet clear how the fire started. 

“Till now we have rescued more than 50 people, most of them were affected due to smoke,” Atul Garg, an official with Delhi Fire Services told reporters.

Later Dr Kishore Singh, medical superintendent at the nearby Lok Nayak Hospital, said 34 people had been brought dead to the facility, with smoke inhalation cited as the primary cause of the death.

Out of the 15 injured brought to the hospital, nine people are under observation and others have partial injuries, he said.

Prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted calling the incident “horrific” and said his thoughts were with those who had lost their loved ones. 

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had visited the scene of the fire, ANI press agency reported. 

PTI spoke to some of the area’s residents.

23-year-old Manoj, from Begusarai in Bihar, said his 18-year-old brother Naveen was working in a handbag manufacturing unit operating from the premises.

He told PTI, “I got a call from his friend informing that he has been injured in the incident. I have no clue which hospital he has been taken to.”

An unidentified elderly man, whose three nephews worked in the factory, said many units were operating from the premises which was located in a congested area.

Earlier this year, dozens of people died when a fire broke out in an unauthorised firecracker factory in Punjab.