New Delhi: At least 43 people died on Sunday in a devastating fire that broke out in a building in a crowded grains market area in central New Delhi, police said.
Dr. Kishore Singh of a government-run hospital said the victims were brought to the hospital by rescuers. Another 16 people were being treated for burns or smoke inhalation. They are in stable condition, Singh said.
The cause of the fire, which erupted around 5:30 a.m., is being investigated.
Fire Services chief Atul Garg said the blaze was put out by 25 fire trucks and the rescue operation completed.
Police officer Arun Kumar Mittal said that the fatalities were among 59 people who had been moved out of the building on fire in the Rani Jhansi Marg area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the fire as “extremely horrific.” “My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wishing the injured a quick recovery.,” Modi tweeted. Authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy, he said.
Fires are common in India, where building laws and safety norms are often flouted by builders and residents.
In 1997, a fire in a movie theater in New Delhi had killed 59 people. In February this year, 17 people were killed by a fire in a six-story hotel, also in the Indian capital that started in an unauthorized rooftop kitchen.