A 24-year-old worker died while another sustained burn injuries after a fire broke out at a helmet-manufacturing unit in Swaroop Nagar Tuesday. Police said the unit is run by the wife and son of a police officer in the Special Cell.
“The premises was taken on rent under the name of the officer’s wife, and the son used to look into the day-to-day operations. Both have been named in the FIR registered under IPC sections 304-(A) (causing death by negligence), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter),” said DCP (northwest) Aslam Khan.
The Delhi Fire Services and the Delhi Police are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire, which broke out on the first floor of the two-storey building, located adjacent to a steel parts manufacturing unit and an oil drum godown. While the ground floor housed a courier company, the helmet unit was on the first floor.
When the fire broke out, three workers were reportedly sleeping inside, and found themselves trapped. Two of them jumped off the terrace and escaped, while the third, Devender, died. “The injured worker, Jitender (34) sustained 20% burn injuries. He managed to escape to the terrace, but went back inside to retrieve his phone. He suffered burns to his face, legs and arms,” said an officer, adding that the other worker who jumped had left the place by the time police arrived.
It took 12 fire tenders around six hours to douse the blaze. “Our fire tenders arrived on time and water lines were set. But the intensity was such that it took a long time. The owner of the building was not present and everyone at the spot claimed no one was trapped inside. After the blaze was controlled, we gained entry and found a body on the first floor balcony,” DFS officer Ravinder said.
Police said the employees slept inside the unit after working hours. They fixed helmet parts and were paid Rs 6 per piece, police said.
The accused have provided the rent agreement documents to police, with officers saying they will now contact the civic body to ascertain the legality of the unit. The original owner, a resident of Jwala Heri, has also been contacted.
Devender’s body was taken to Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital. “He had been working at the unit for the past year and was unmarried. He didn’t have any complaints about this unit,” said Sanjeev, his uncle.
At the Safdarjung burns ward ICU, Jitender’s brothers waited for him to speak. “His mouth has almost melted. He just manages to hum and nod when we ask him something. We just want to know what happened at the unit,” said Pappu Kumar, Jitender’s brother.