Blaze at building claims 52-year-old driver

A 52-year-old man died of suffocation in a fire that broke out at an abandoned office in a three-storey building in south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur during the wee hours of Sunday.

The victim, a resident of Bihar, worked as a driver. He lived alone in the abandoned office located on the first floor of the building. The office was earlier used by Madurai Bank before they moved elsewhere. The local Aadhar Card office is located on the second floor of the building, but it remained mostly unaffected by the fire.

The incident was reported at about 1 am on Sunday from the commercial building. Three persons in all were present inside the building at the time of the blaze. Two of them escaped when they noticed the blaze. Lalendra Mandal, however, could not escape in time.
The survivors informed police and the fire department. Four fire tenders were rushed to the spot and they took 40 minutes to douse the flames. Mandal could be heard screaming after the fire broke out, but his cries for help diminished soon after, said police.

By the time the fire department could rescue Mandal from inside the office, he had fainted. Police said he did not die of burns but of suffocation. He was declared brought dead at AIIMS. His body has been sent for post-mortem and his family informed. Police said his family is on their way to Delhi from Bihar.

A forensic team inspected the spot to detect what could have caused the fire. Police said it is too early to cite a cause for the fire. The possibility of sabotage has not been ruled out either.

Living alone in Delhi, Mandal had little possession. For several months he had been sleeping in the abandoned office.

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