At least 27 people have died and dozens more have been injured in a huge fire at a commercial building in India’s capital, Delhi.
The large fire broke out at the four-storey building near a train station in the western suburb of Mundka late Friday afternoon, but its cause was not immediately clear.
Television footage showed smoke billowing from the building’s windows, with firefighters helping those trapped on upper floors to escape as hundreds watched. More than 30 fire engines were at the scene, along with ambulances.
“Twenty-seven charred bodies were recovered from the building and nearly two dozen injured people are being treated,” said Delhi Fire Department operations manager Satpal Bharadwaj at the scene.
Bharadwaj said there were around 70 people in the building when the fire broke out.
“There was no emergency exit and most people died of asphyxiation,” he said, adding that more would be known after autopsies could be carried out.
Deputy Fire Chief Sunil Choudhary said the number of injured stood at “over 25 people”. Choudhary added that some jumped from the burning building.
Broadcaster NDTV, meanwhile, reported that more than 40 people suffered burns and were hospitalized.
The fire broke out on the first floor of the building that houses the offices of a surveillance camera manufacturing company, police said.
Amit Mahajan, whose cousin and nephew were missing after the fire, said they had gone to the building to “train workers”.
“I have visited all the hospitals in the area but there is no trace of them. We are not sure of their safety or whereabouts,” he said.
Fires are common in India due to poor building practices, overcrowding and failure to follow safety regulations.
India’s capital of 20 million people is currently experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures of up to 46°C being recorded in some places.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences on Twitter.
“Extremely saddened by the loss of life due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My heart goes out to the bereaved families. I wish those injured a speedy recovery,” Modi said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Shocked and saddened to hear of this tragic incident. I am constantly in touch [with] officers. Our brave firefighters are doing their best to control the fire and save lives.
With Agence France-Presse and Reuters