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Massive fire breaks out in Rithala; 700 shanties gutted, 1 fireman injured

Around 700 shanties in Delhi’s Rithala area were gutted after the fire broke out around 12:35 am on Monday. The residents alleged that the fire tenders reached late and one fireman was injured in the stone pelting that followed. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

Fire officers received a call post-midnight from the slums of Outer Delhi’s Rithala area that has around 700 shanties. Immediately, 30 fire tenders were sent to the spot. Residents in the area were seen trying to douse the flames that were spreading very fast. 

Smoke and fire could be seen from a distance and people rushed to save their belongings. 

The angry residents accused the fire tenders of reaching late and resorted to stone-pelting. At least two fire tender vehicles were hit and one fire personnel was injured in the incident that followed.

“The main route leading to the slums was dug in because of some ongoing construction work. The fire tenders had to take a different route and hence there was a bit delay. The residents mostly deal in scraps. Only an investigation might conclude what led to the fire. A case under IPC Section 336 has been registered,” said a senior police officer.

Anas, a slum dweller, stood over the ashes of his house that once stood there. He was inconsolable and showed his burnt cycle and utensils.

“I am ruined. What should I do now? This was my house. It has turned into ashes,” said Anas as he picked up a utensil from the ashes. 

“Fire started from the corner of the slums. It led to a cylinder blast and later more cylinder blasts took place in the shanties,” recalls Ashish, pointing his finger to the far end of the smoke.

According to sources, the fire tenders had to break a boundary wall to enter the fire site and hence it got a bit delayed resulting in stone pelting by angry residents.

“One of our firemen Sandeep was injured and sustained minor injuries after the stone pelting and resistance from the locals. He was rushed to the hospital from where he was discharged after the first aid. The fire was controlled at 6:15 am in the morning,” said a senior fire officer. However, no casualties or injuries have been reported. 

Dy CM pays visit 

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited JJ Cluster in Rithala on Monday evening after around 700 shanties were gutted in a massive fire on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. 

The minister has directed the officers to compensate the families also. “The slum dwellers have incurred huge losses due to fire. I have directed the officers to arrange some compensation in cash as well,” tweeted Manish Sisodia after his visit. He also interacted with the slum dwellers who lost their belongings and promised arrangement for the families in peak winter.
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