At 5 am on Friday, head fire-fighter Hari Om (49) was in the middle of his shift at the Janakpuri fire depot. He was going to head home in sometime to help with a wedding in the family. In half-an-hour, however, Om found himself facing a blaze at a snack shop in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri. At 5.35 am, Om and three others rushed to the spot after they received a call about the fire. As Om lifted the shutters, a cylinder kept inside the shop exploded. Om and another fire-fighter, Hari Singh Meena, were killed, while the other two were injured.
Om’s cousin Baljeet Singh, who is also a fire-fighter, said, “I was supposed to replace him once his shift ended. Now he is gone… Om had asked us to donate his eyes in the event of his death… We have respected his wish.”
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He added that his brother had received a letter of commendation for showing “exemplary courage” during the 2015 plane crash, in which 10 BSF officers were killed.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (west) Vijay Kumar said, “Hari Om and Hari Singh Meena were declared dead at the hospital. The other two firemen are undergoing treatment. A case of death due to negligence has been registered and the owner is likely to be arrested soon.”
According to police, prima facie the fire was caused by a short circuit. They added that the shop is just 9 metres wide, and housed three cylinders and cooking equipment.