Around 400 jhuggis were gutted in a blaze in the Sadar Bazar area early Friday. A 65-year-old man sustained twenty per cent burn injuries and has been admitted to the LNJP Hospital,police said.
According to police,the fire started in three jhuggis located near the railway tracks around 1 am and within a few minutes it spread to the adjoining houses.
We rushed 25 fire tenders to the spot after we received a call at 1.07 am. It took us nearly five hours to douse the flames which were reaching as high as 20-25 metres, said R K Sinha,Station Officer at the Teli Wada Fire Station.
Although fire officials said fire tenders reached the spot within ten minutes of being informed,the residents claimed otherwise. The fire tenders came from Connaught Place and not the Teli Wada fire station which is 500-600 metres away, said Naresh Chand Gupta,the pradhan of the jhuggi cluster.
Forty-year old Ruby Devi,one the three jhuggi owners whose houses first caught fire,said,Around 1 am,I woke up since the house was full of smoke. I saw flames towards the back of the house.
I woke up my children and rushed out. We had no time to pick anything.
Everything is lost clothes,money,documents including my ration card,bank pass-book,fixed deposit receipts. We are lucky to be alive, says Upendra Das (35) who works as a sweeper at the New Delhi railway station.
This is not the first time that this jhuggi cluster,which is home to 1,500 people,has caught fire.
A person died in March 2010 in a similar incident. Almost four times last year,we had stopped such fires from getting out of control, said Rajesh Mandal,a resident.
Police said a short-circuit is suspected to have triggered the fire. Police have registered a case and investigations are underway.