IT WAS the timely intervention of 54-year-old Karnail Singh Badwal, owner of a tractor spare parts manufacturing unit that led to the, that led to the rescue of several employees of a dhoop factory, trapped in the fire that broke out on Friday. Badwal had promptly decided to break down the boundary wall at the back of Plot-345, with his employees and save precious lives.
A day after the mishap, Badwal, the owner of AP Engineer Pvt Ltd and resident of Derabassi, narrated the sequence of events. He also complained about the slow response of the fire department due to which fire tenders arrived after some delay. Badwal said, “It was around 12.30 pm when electricity had gone in our unit and I, along with my employees, came out of the plant. We saw a huge smoke coming from the backside of our unit, which belongs to Dev Darshan Dhoop Company, and, at the same time, we also heard people crying for help to get out of the incense factory. Two people rushed to us and informed about the fire and claimed that the only way to evacuate the trapped employees was from the back.”
He added, “Without waiting, I decided to break the backside wall of the incense factory, which touched our plant’s wall. So, along with my workers, I broke down the wall and evacuated at least two dozen employees, mostly women. Three employees were under age. Though we kept calling emergency numbers, including the fire department, the response was slow and by the time medical help arrived, most of the victims had been rushed to GMCH-32 by private vehicles.”
Chief Fire Officer-cum-Additional Commissioner of the municipal corporation, Uma Shankar Gupta, said, “We have already ordered a probe. A survey has been ordered for physical inspection of other units in the industrial area in view of this incident and a show cause notice has been slapped on the area fire station officer, Baljinder Singh, for not informing his seniors about the fire on time.”
All the 28 employees of the incense factory, who had been rushed to GMCH-32, were found suffering from asphyxiation. They have been discharged.