14 dead in major Delhi fire

Last Updated 20 November 2011, 20:31 IST

The fire broke out during a congregation of the eunuchs, who had set up tents around the community centre to hold an event. Most of the deceased and wounded were eunuchs, many of whom had come from other parts of the country.

Chief Fire Officer A K Sharma said that the fire broke out at about 6:30 pm and altogether 11 fire tenders had been engaged to deal with the situation. He said electric short circuit could have caused the fire. Sharma said the traffic congestion on the narrow roads in and around Nand Nagari had made the task of fire-fighters and rescue workers difficult.

While most of the victims suffered burn injuries, some might have died due asphyxiation caused by smoke.

The fire was brought under control by 9:30 pm. The fire turned devastating when at least three LPG cylinders stored in the tents exploded, critically injuring a leader of the eunuchs and several others.

The injured were rushed to hospitals. Some were declared dead on arrival. Police said that conditions of at least 20 were critical.

Sharma said his department had not issued any fire safety clearance to the organisers to hold the congregation of the eunuchs. He, however, added that only an enquiry could confirm if the organisers had made fire safety arrangements in the venue of the event.

Police officers, who rushed to the scene, could not confirm if the eunuchs had taken permission to hold the conclave in congested Nand Nagari area.

Sonia, a leader of the eunuchs, said that about 5,000 people from across the country had gathered for the event at Nand Nagari. 

Health Minister of Delhi Government A K Walia said that the Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) had been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit a report by Monday.

(Published 20 November 2011, 16:41 IST)

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