Fire fighter killed after explosion brings down battery warehouse in Delhi, India
A fire fighter was killed at a battery warehouse in west Delhi's Peera Garhi after it caught fire and the structure collapsed following an explosion on Wednesday, 1 January 2020, officials said. Two fire fighters and a worker have been rescued. They suffered minor injuries, officials said. The police said 14 others are injured. 35 fire engines came to the site. A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also helped in the rescue operation. The fire department received a call for help at 4h30, officials said, adding they initially sent seven fire engines to the warehouse. At 9h00, an explosion suspected to be an overheated battery ripped through the rear of the building, bringing down the structure.
In visuals, black smoke was seen billowing out from the warehouse. The rescuers said they advanced with extreme caution as the smoke from the batteries was toxic. They said they have removed inflammable material from the building.
The fire fighter who died in the fire was identified as Amit Balyan, 27. He was posted in the Kirti Nagar branch of the Department of Delhi Fire Services. His body was recovered under the building's debris five to six hours into the fire fighting operation.
More than 300 fire fighters were involved in the fire fighting operation and 50 fire tenders were deployed, said Atul Garg, Director of Delhi Fire Service. There was no one inside the building when the fire broke out but the main challenge fire fighters often face is the lack of complete information during the fire call, he said. "We are not aware of what is inside the building. The fire was completely controlled and the firemen were coming downstairs. There was a fire in the basement and the firemen were trying to douse it when a sudden blast took place leading to a partial collapse of the building," he added.
Later, the fire fighters managed to continue their operation. Because the impact of the collapse was such that the entire building collapsed in phases, the official said. "We had all the resources and cranes but despite available resources, we were unable to utilise them because people were trapped inside and the other portion of the building would have collapsed eventually," Garg said.
The other portions of the building eventually collapsed in phases. It's difficult to ascertain now whether the building had any fire safety equipment, he said.
“Around 6h20, a blast took place and a porting of the building collapsed and people were trapped, including three fire personnel,” he said. The civilian who was trapped inside the building had come later to get something, he said. "I was involved in fire fighting and started clearing the debris. I was informed that the fire was under control but later I got to know that our firemen were trapped under the debris after a portion of the building collapsed," Garg added.
Source: New Delhi TV