New Delhi: The death toll from a fire that tore through a four-story commercial building in west Delhi's Mundka has risen to 27, health officials said on Friday evening.
The identity of the victims has not been revealed yet. The injured have been admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital.
There were about 200 people in the building when the fire broke out and the toll is likely to go up.
According to officials, at least 60 people have been rescued from the building and some were still trapped inside.
The Delhi Fire Service deployed cranes to rescue those trapped in the blaze. However, smoke from the fire spread to the entire building and some people jumped off through the windows to save themselves, while some others used ropes to climb down.
Highly combustible material and a narrow passage posed a huge challenge to the rescue operation and made the escape more difficult.
The divisional officer of the fire department informed that there was only one staircase due to which, people could not escape the building.
"The fire started on the first floor of the building which had an office of Cofe Impex Private Limited, a CCTV cameras, and router manufacturing company," said the DCP, Outer, Sameer Sharma.
Reportedly, police have filed an FIR and detained the company owners, Harish Goel and Varun Goel. A special investigation team has been constituted to probe the incident.
However, the owner of the building, which did not have safety clearance from the fire department, has been identified as Manish Lakra and he is on the run.
The preliminary probe indicates that a motivational speech event was being held on the second floor when the fire broke out. Many people were attending this program and so most deaths took place on this floor.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi are among the several politicians to mourn the loss of lives in the tragic incident.
The Prime Minister has said that ₹ 2 lakh each will be given to the families of those who lost their lives. The injured will be given ₹ 50,000, his office tweeted.
Home Minister Amit Shah said that he is in constant touch with the authorities and that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been pressed into service.