Only seven of the 27 dead bodies recovered after the fire mishap in Delhi's Mundka area could be identified. Medical Superintendent at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital Dr. S.K. Arora said relatives of the dead or missing persons were still coming for the identification process.
by Pankaj Yadav
NEW DELHI, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Most of those who died in the fire mishap in Delhi's Mundka area on Friday were burnt beyond recognition. Only seven of the 27 dead bodies recovered could be identified as of Saturday evening, while efforts are being made to identify the rest through DNA testing.
On the other hand, as many as 29 persons have been reported missing after the incident.
During the rescue operation on Saturday, badly charred human limbs were recovered, confirmed Delhi Fire Services chief Atul Garg.
The rescue work is being carried out by the National Disaster Response Force personnel.
"We have sent the badly charred human remains recovered today to the local hospital for their recognition process. These burnt human remains were recovered from the second floor of the building," added Garg.
Most of the deaths were reported from the second floor of the three-story building, which had a manufacturing unit of WiFi, routers and other plastic-based equipment. The ill-fated building lacked proper fire clearances or licences, and had only one entry and exit point.
The fire broke out on the first floor and soon spread to the second and third floors of the building. With too much plastic raw material stocked inside the building, smoke soon engulfed the whole of the building, with people inside the building not having any chance to run for safety.
TV footage showed some of the victims jumping out from windows, while women were rescued with the help of ropes and makeshift ladders. Those who were present at the site claimed that around 100 people were rescued by the neighbors and onlookers.
"The fire broke out at around 16:30 local time (1100 GMT) on Friday. Fire tenders could not reach the site as there was a huge traffic jam on the road where this building is located. By the time the fire-tenders reached, we had rescued around 100 people, mostly women," said Prabhat Kumar, who lives nearby.
There were around 150 people present inside the building when the tragedy struck. The cause of the fire has not been known yet.
Asha Devi, who is still searching for her daughter-in-law Madhu Devi, who worked at the manufacturing unit, told Xinhua that she came running to the building when she learned about the fire at around 17:50 local time (1220 GMT).
"At that time people were being rescued from inside by members of the public. I thought my daughter-in-law would also be rescued, but I have never seen her till now. I don't know her whereabouts," she said.
Devi said her son Amit Kumar is a taxi driver and was away at work when the tragedy struck. "Now I am losing hopes of getting my daughter-in-law back in our family. I think she wasn't among the rescued."
Kumar said that he had contacted the hospital where all dead bodies are kept, "but till now we haven't got any concrete information about my wife Madhu Devi. I have two small kids."
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the fire site on Saturday, announced a monetary compensation of 1 million Indian Rupees (around 12,905 U.S. dollars) to the families of each dead, and 50,000 Indian Rupees (645 dollars) for each of the injured.
A total of 12 persons were injured in the mishap, some of them seriously.
The Delhi chief minister said he had instituted an inquiry into the incident, and promised that those who would be found at fault would not be spared.
Medical Superintendent at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital Dr. S.K. Arora said that relatives of the dead or missing persons were still coming for the identification process.
While seven bodies have been identified, at least seven other families are presently looking for their members among the dead bodies, he added.
"Almost all the dead bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Those dead bodies which will remain unclaimed would be analyzed with the help of DNA testing against four relatives. We are waiting for other families to reach here and identify their members," added Dr. Arora.