Charred human remains were found on the first floor of a shoe godown in west Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday where a major fire broke out a day ago, police said. These remains will be sent for DNA profiling to ascertain the identity even as a search operation is underway to trace the six workers who are reported to be missing, police said.
It is yet to be ascertained if the remains found are of more than one person, they added. The fire broke out on Monday at the shoe godown in Udyog Nagar, and 35 fire tenders and around 140 fire personnel were pressed into service to douse the blaze at the building where shoes were assembled and packed for sale.
The six men reported to be missing have been identified as brother duo Sonu and Vikram, Shamshad, Abhishek, Ajay and Neeraj, according to police. Both Sonu and his brother Vikram, in their early 20's were reported to have come from Ghazipur for work, the family members told police.
The owner Pankaj Garg and his father is also absconding, police said, adding the efforts are being made to nab them. "There is still extreme heat inside the building which is causing hindrance for officials to examine. After the remains are retrieved, it will be sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for DNA profiling. Samples will also be collected from the family members of those reported missing for DNA matching which will help us in ascertaining the identity," said Parvinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer).
Eight fire-tenders are still at the spot carrying out search operation, said Atul Garg, Director, Delhi Fire Services. Around 3 am, the charred remains were found by the fire-fighters on the first floor of the godown, he said.
During the search operation, around 7 am on Tuesday morning, the Assistant Divisional Officer Rajesh Kumar Shukla also suffered severe injuries after he slipped from the staircase of the building where he had gone for rescue operation, said a senior fire official. He suffered injuries in his ribs and is undergoing treatment at Balaji Action hospital, he said.
Three member team of Forensic experts from FSL, Rohini visited the spot on Tuesday for examination but could not carry out their operation due to extreme heat inside the building. "Our three-member team of forensic experts went for spot examination but only photography and videography of the building was done from outside. Due to extreme heat, our team could not enter the premises for examination. Once the temperature reduces, our team will visit the spot again tomorrow," said an FSL official.
Prima facie, electric short-circuit is suspected to be reason but only a detailed examination will reveal exact cause of the fire. The terrace of the two-storey building has collapsed already and due to extreme heat and water used to douse the blaze, the structure of the building remains weak, a senior police officer said. The police said they have also written to the civic authority concerned, seeking details about the building's plan and its legality.
The building also did not have any fire-safety equipment in place and was heavily jammed with highly combustible materials due to which the fire spread faster, according to fire officials. "We are scanning the building and its adjacent premises but extreme heat is also causing hindrance. Though our team have managed to enter some parts of the building but a detailed examination of the spot has not been possible yet due to extreme heat inside," the officer said.
The building has been declared dangerous by the area's civic body on Monday following the blaze.