18 May, 2022A major fire in a CCTV and router manufacturing company in New Delhi on 13 May killed 27 people and injured 12. The fire is one of the deadliest fire disasters in recent years in India’s capital.
The fire started on the first floor and spread throughout the four storey building due to the presence of combustible plastic material, used in the manufacture of security cameras, and stacks of packaging cardboard. A short circuit is believed to have started the fire.
70 people were inside when the fire started. The heavy smoke caused by the plastic material made it difficult for people to escape the building because all the floors were connected by only one small staircase. According to media reports, people were forced to break windows to flee the fire.
The building lacked clearance from the fire department and was not equipped with fire safety equipment like extinguishers. According to initial accident reports, both the company owners and the building owner lacked the proper documentation for tenants. The owners of the CCTV manufacturing company have been arrested in connection with the accident, while the building owner has absconded.
The Delhi chief minister has announced compensation of US$13,000 for the relatives of each killed worker, and US$650 for those injured in the fire.
Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary, says:
“This tragedy shows the danger of the diluted system of workplace inspections. The labour department needs to conduct proper inspections, which can save lives.”