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India: factory fire kills eleven people

19 February, 2024A massive fire at an illegal paint factory in Delhi, India, killed eleven people and severely injured several others on 15 February.

The fire was caused by a blast at Om Sons Paint and Chemicals, an illegal paints manufacturing factory. Inflammable materials caused the fire to intensify and spread to houses and shops within a 15 meter radius. The factory was located in a densely populated residential area with a drug rehabilitation centre and around five people at the centre were injured. 

According to media reports, the building had a tin roof and only one entry and exit gate that was locked from inside at the time of the fire. Rehabilitation centre staff informed media that the centre had made several complaints regarding the factory storing inflammable chemicals, but the complaints were not investigated.

There is no information available on how many workers were employed at the factory and who the factory was supplying to. These type of establishments also do not have a workers’ union.

In an official statement the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, acknowledged that the factory was operating illegally and police are currently investigating the matter. Media reports indicate that police will now conduct audits of other factories operating in the area. 

Delhi chief minister announced that INR1,000,000 (US$10,609) compensation for the families of the deceased workers, INR 200,000 (US$2,122) for those who sustained serious injuries, and INR20,000 (US$212) for those with minor injuries.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary, says:

“This horrific incident brings the importance of inspection to the fore, and reiterates that the government must take industrial safety seriously.”

A similar fire incident occurred in May 2022, in a router manufacturing unit in Delhi, that killed 27 people. The building lacked clearance from the fire department and was not equipped with fire safety equipment like extinguishers.

Photo: Shutterstock