A 45-year-old woman died and her daughter sustained injuries when a four-storey residential complex collapsed in north Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar area on Friday evening. Rescue operations were underway till late in the night as more people were feared trapped under the rubble, police said. The incident took place at 4 pm in a congested locality in Azad Market’s Library Road. Eyewitness said the residential complex, which houses several flats and a godown on the ground floor, “fell like a pack of cards”.
A man who lives in the adjacent building said, “I heard a loud noise and saw smoke everywhere. The building had crumbled and people in the lane were shouting. I saw someone making calls to the police and the fire department. A few people were trapped under the debris.” “Along with police and personnel from the fire department, we managed to pull out two women,” he said.
According to police, the deceased has been identified as Vimla Devi. Her daughter, 23-year-old Komal, has been discharged from the hospital. They lived on the third floor. Police sources said more casualties were avoided because the complex’s ground, first and second floors were vacant at the time of the incident. A teenager who was present on the fourth floor “miraculously” survived, police sources said.
Esha Pandey, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) said that since the rescue operation was still underway, the number of people trapped inside could not be ascertained. “As of now, two persons have been pulled out. The reason of the collapse is being investigated,” Pandey said.
Some houses next to the building were damaged. “Three rooms of my house have been damaged. We don’t know how it happened, but thankfully none of us were around when the building collapsed,” said Vijay Kumar, a photographer who lives in the adjacent building. A case under relevant sections has been registered at Sadar Bazaar police station. Personnel of the National Disaster Management Authority, Delhi Fire Service and the Delhi Police have been pressed into service, along with 10 fire tenders, police said.