A 28-year-old man died after a ‘massive’ category fire broke out at a three-storey lubricant oil godown in West Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh Saturday afternoon. At least 26 fire tenders and over 100 firefighters were deployed to douse it, said Delhi Fire Services (DFS) chief Atul Garg.
The charred body of Romit Kumar, an accountant at the godown, was found inside his cabin on the first floor at 8 pm. “We received a call at 4.57 pm, and around 8 pm, a man walked up to us and said he couldn’t find his brother who worked at the godown. The fire had been doused by then and the cooling operation was on,” said Ajay Sharma, divisional fire officer.
Sharma said a team of firefighters was formed to find Kumar. “His body was found inside his cabin. When we reached the spot, no one took responsibility of the building, and as per protocol, firefighters asked if anyone was trapped. We received no such information,” said Sharma.
Additional DCP (West) Sameer Sharma said Kumar’s family reached the spot after they couldn’t get through his phone. Kumar lived with his parents and brother in Prem Nagar.
Garg said the fire spread to a godown next door as well, but was contained there. “The buildings are 500 square yards in size and have no fire NOC,” said Garg.
Sharma said the setback area — three metres in size around the godown — had three tankers filled with oil. “One tanker had a capacity of 15,000-20,000 litres, and the other two had a capacity of 10,000 litres each. The area was used to store hazardous material,” said Sharma.
The basement and the ground floor of the building had drums with 200 litres of oil each, and at least 12 oil drums burst in the presence of the firefighters. “We strategised and decided to begin cooling of the three tankers first,” said Sharma.
Initially, five fire tenders were deployed. With the fire getting worse, by 7 pm at least 26 fire tenders were part of the mission. Garg said that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined. Additional DCP (West) said: “Investigation so far has revealed that the buildings are used to store lubricant oil. A case under IPC section 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) against unknown persons has been registered at Punjabi Bagh police station.” The godown owner is being questioned, police said.