Teen dies of cracker burns

A 14-year-old boy died while a woman suffered severe burn injuries in two separate cracker fire-related incidents on Diwali night on Tuesday.

In the first incident, Diwakar, a resident of east Delhi's Nand Nagari, suffered 80 percent burn injuries while bursting crackers outside his home at around 7 pm. “He was rushed to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, but succumbed to injuries during treatment,” a police official said.

In the second incident, a woman suffered burn injuries while lighting up diyas at her home in outer Delhi’s Rohini. Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot in Rohini Sector 5 and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital with 80 percent burns.

According to Delhi Fire Services (DFS), it was a busy Diwali for 1,800-odd firemen who received and attended over 250 calls during a 31-hour period from 1 am on Tuesday to 8 am on Wednesday.

"We received a total of 184 emergency calls on Tuesday and another 68 calls during the wee hours of Wednesday,” said A K Sharma, DFS Director, adding that 114 of the calls on Tuesday were firecrackers-related. He added that 21 of the 68 fire incidents occurred due to firecrackers.

Factories, residential buildings, vehicles and garbage were among those that were on fire due to crackers this year.

The calls this year were more than last year’s 206 (85 firecrackers-related). In 2010, 169 calls were received and the number was 207 in 2009. “We got calls from almost all parts of the city, but almost all of them were minor incidents,” another official said.

“The calls from east Delhi was the least this year as compared to previous years. Most calls this year came from south and west Delhi,” the official added. The department responded from 55 fire stations and 24 temporary fire posts created at several locations across the city to reduce response time. Leave and day-off of key personnel were also cancelled and they were on high alert. The spots where temporary fire posts were stationed included Tilak Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, South Extension, Alipur and Kanjhawala.

The DFS control room at Connaught Place had 10 firemen deputed to attend calls and direct fire-tenders to locations. “All the fire stations remain on alert through the 31-hour period. We keep directing the fire stations to send their tenders in response to fire calls based on the location of the fire,” said Mehak Singh, assistant control room in-charge.

The calls peaked between 8 pm and 11 pm, when most Delhiites went out to burst crackers. There were 120 calls in the three hours. The operators were busy attending the calls through the day, and could relax only after 1 am on Wednesday.

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