A major fire broke out in the early morning at a Jhuggi cluster in South Delhi's Vasant Kunj area. The blaze engulfed about 500 huts however no fatalities were reported however more than thirty people including children received burn injuries some of whom were rushed to Safdarjung hospital. Flames reduced the jhuggis to ashes till the time fire department was able to douse the flames completely.
Roshini had already left for work and her husband Mohammed Syed was sleeping home his home. “I heard cries and woke up instantly but, fire had already engulfed a majority of houses. I burned my feet while escaping,” Syed said. When Roshini came back, she saw her home doused in fire and her husband in tears.
A student of 10th class, Jamaluddin Sheikh had recently bought a laptop and was much excited about it but, today that excitement was crushed under the burden of its loss among other things at his home. “I was in school at that time. I ran towards my home to save it from burning but, I was not allowed even after making many attempts,” Jamal said. “I was having tea when I heard about the incident in the morning around 7 am and when I rushed to the spot almost fifty houses were caught in flames,” an eye-witness told Iamin.
About 26 fire tenders reached the spot to extinguish the flames. According to the officials, the reason behind the fire breakout is yet to be ascertained. "We received the call around 0830hrs," an official said. But, according to the slum dwellers, the fire broke around 7am and the fire tenders were late to respond and reached the spot almost after two hours had passed after the first distress call was made.
MCD employee Mohammad Howai was on work when he heard about the incident. “I rushed back from Moti Bagh and even then the fire-fighters had not arrived,” he said. “The fire-brigade unable to manage the crisis,” he added. Another resident, who was in Chattarpur for work, also blamed the authorities for being negligent. “They could have saved many huts. First they came late then they were unable to cover all of the areas. They were stuck at one place whereas the fire spread to the rest of the houses,” he said.
“We offered our help but the fire tenders did not accept it and the result is here. I know that they came here to help us and I offer my gratitude to the authorities but, this is their job and how does it matter if they are not being able to do it properly. I lost everything,” Mohammed Ali said while lamenting at the loss. Mohammad Milan Sheikh had made three distress calls to the local Vasant Kunj police station. “They started abusing me and said do not make any further calls. What was I supposed to do when fire tenders were not able to reach on time,” Milan added.
They locals were also complaining about food. “They have brought a water tanker here. The authorities do not know we get hungry,” complained a resident. However packaged food came and was distributed around 1pm which calmed the angry residents to some extent.
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