A three-storey building in Pratap Gali, Gandhi Nagar Market, was gutted after a kerosene dealer shop on the ground floor of the building caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.
The shop had stored over 20 drums of kerosene that fuelled the blaze and it quickly spread through the entire building. Two vehicles parked near the building were also gutted, police said.
Two workers, Harinder Kumar Gupta and Rahul, who were at the shop when the fire started, sustained burns and were taken to Max Hospital and later shifted to Safdarjang Hospital. No casualty was reported, police said.
“Prima facie evidence shows that sparks from a switchboard led to the kerosene catching fire,” a police officer said.
The building belonged to one Kuldeep Singh. He also owns a musical store, police said, and he used the first, second and third floors as a godown to store musical instruments, police said.
Nearly 26 fire tenders were pressed into service and the blaze was contained around 9.30 pm. Over 70 fire fighters, 17 civil defence personnel and policemen from Geeta Colony, Krishna Nagar and Gandhi Nagar area helped contain the blaze, police said.
“An FIR has been registered at Gandhi Nagar police station. We are still trying to ascertain the exact cause of the fire,” the SHO said.
However, many residents and shopowners alleged that the fire brigade reached the spot one hour after they were intimated about the fire.
“If only the fire department responded earlier the building could have been saved,” Sanjay Jain, owner of M R Traders, said.
“My shop is in front of the kerosene shop. Around 3 pm, I saw Rahul running out of the shop. We had to drag out Harinder Kumar who was badly burnt by then. The intensity of the fire was so high that the glass panes of my shop shattered and many of my goods were burnt.” Jain said.
Except for two shops, the entire building was gutted. Amit, the owner of a garments shop, said, “My shop was spared but the building will have to be rebuilt. We have taken out all our goods as we were scared that the building will collapse.”
(The reporter is a student of Exims, Delhi)