New Delhi: A firefighter died while saving lives after a battery factory in Peera Garhi of northwest Delhi collapsed following an explosion due to a fire early Thursday morning.
Fourteen people were injured in the incident while 18 people were rescued from the building, including two caretakers and a security guard.
The firefighter has been identified as Amit Balyan.
Delhi’s fire service was called to the blaze at 4.23 am following an explosion at the factory. Even as firemen were dousing the fire, the back of the two-storey building collapsed.
All the firemen, who were trapped under the debris, were rescued, two with critical injuries. Balyan was admitted to the Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute with injuries but succumbed.
Plumes of smoke billowed from the building as the fire brigade personnel battled to contain the blaze. An eyewitness said there were several explosions as the blaze gutted the building. Santosh Kumar, who works in a plastic factory nearby, said the back of the building collapsed at about 9 am, and he heard a few of the trapped people screaming for help. Fire personnel rescued them with the help of a ladder. “They were alive," he said.
Police said legal action would be taken against the factory. Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain has ordered a magisterial enquiry into the matter.
For Amit Kumar Balyan, death came a fortnight before he would have turned 29. He had joined the Delhi Fire Service after completing his basic training on June 10, 2019. A resident of Meetnagar, he was posted at the Kirti Nagar fire station.
He married in February 2019 and is survived by his wife, father, mother, one younger brother and two younger sisters.
Ved Pal Chhikara, assistant divisional officer of the fire department, said the rescue operation became difficult after the rear of the building collapsed. Four persons, including three firemen, were trapped in the rubble and portions of two buildings on either side of the premises had to be broken down to reach them.
Civilians were taken out first, and then two firemen -- Manjeet and Mahavir. Balyan was the last to be pulled out, at around 3 pm. He was taken to Balaji Hospital where he was declared dead.
Balyan was trapped in the rubble for almost six hours. He was on the ground floor during the rescue operation and died due to injuries suffered when debris fell on him.
Balyan's wife Shivani is a constable in the UP police and posted in Ghaziabad. His father Babu Ram is an assistant sub-inspector in the Delhi Police.
Balyan’s body is to be taken to the Fire Safety Management Academy in Rohini on Friday where his fellow firemen will pay their tributes.