Five people, including four children, died after the roof of a three-storey building, which also housed a coaching centre, collapsed in North East Delhi’s Bhajanpura Saturday afternoon. According to police, a fourth-floor was being constructed, as a result of which the building gave way.
An FIR has been registered against the building owner. Police said that initial investigation revealed two brothers were allegedly illegally running the coaching centre in the building for the past 10-15 years.
DCP (North East) Ved Prakash Surya said they received a call around 4.30 pm. “We found that a coaching centre was being run and that a fourth floor was being constructed. The roof of the third floor collapsed. Around 12 children, a teacher and one of the building owners were present inside at the time,” he said.
Atul Garg, DFS director, said the girder over the third floor wasn’t laid properly, and as the construction work was underway on the fourth floor, a portion of it fell, causing the roof to collapse. “Over 20 people were trapped. We rescued 12 children and two adults,” Garg said.
According to police, the deceased have been identified as Farhan (6), Deshu (14), Krishna (12), Kirti (10) and their teacher Umesh Kashyap (30), who was also the co-owner of the building. “The children were attending classes on the third floor where Umesh and another teacher, Sujata, were teaching. Suddenly, the fourth floor collapsed, trapping all students under the debris,” the officer said.
Prem Mohan Gupta (60), a neighbour, said, “I was inside my house when the building next to ours started crumbling. I heard children screaming, and then there was silence. Children on the second floor came out and started shouting for help. People rushed to rescue those who were trapped, but not more than 10 people could stand on the building as it was weak.”
Locals claimed they rescued over 10 children before fire officials arrived. They claimed that ambulances and fire tenders arrived after parents started looking for their children.
Rajesh, a fireman, said, “It was challenging to access the narrow lanes as the area was congested. We had to park fire tenders and climb through adjacent buildings. Local police along with NDRF teams helped in the rescue. The whole building was crumbling… debris from construction work and the roof of the third floor had trapped children and their teachers.”
DCP Surya said, “Initial probe has revealed that a coaching centre, Educational Point, was being run in the three-storey building. We will take legal action in the matter.”
The institute was started by Umesh’s elder brother Shankar, said police. The two taught English, maths and history.
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