Cylinder explosions, commotion, huge flames: Massive fire in Indirapuram slum
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Cylinder explosions, commotion, huge flames: Massive fire in Indirapuram slum

In a tragic incident, a massive fire in an Indirapuram slum burnt more than hundred shanties to ashes.

Cylinder explosions, commotion, huge flames: Massive fire in Indirapuram slum Indirapuram slum burnt due to fire

A vast number of people were left homeless on Tuesday morning as a massive fire broke out in a slum near Ahinsa Khand 2 in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad and reduced more than hundred shanties to ashes. Residents of several high rises which loom over the area said that they heard loud explosions from the place at around 10 am. Further, they said that the entire area was engulfed in flames and they saw thick smoke billowing from the slum.

“I heard loud explosions and rushed to the balcony to see what happened. I saw black smoke billowing from the slum and there were many explosions. The entire area was engulfed in flames,” said Puja Gupta Das, a resident of Angel Jupiter, a high rise in the neighbourhood.

People living in the slums worked mostly as day labourers, domestic helps and are natives of rural Bengal and Bihar. People were seen disposing gas cylinders in nearby drains.

Dilip Das, a daily-wage labourer who lives in a neighbouring slum, ran to the spot after witnessing the fire. “There was fire everywhere, men, women and children were running around and trying to save as many belongings as they could. I have seen such slum fires before. I pulled two children from a house as their parents were nowhere to be found. More than 100 shanties were gutted in only 15 minutes,” Das said.

As many as 9 fire tenders from Ghaziabad and Noida were pressed into service to douse the flames, which started at around 10 am on Tuesday.

While the reason behind the fire is being investigated, fire department officials said that prima facie it looks like the fire started due to a gas leak from a kitchen. 

Since the shanties were made of wood and plastic material, the blaze spread instantly, fire department officials said. “Around 20 to 30 small cylinders and three big ones exploded due to the fire,” said Sunil Kumar Singh, Chief Fire Officer Ghaziabad. “Nine fire tenders were rushed to the spot to control the fire, which was extinguished only by 11.45 am,” Singh further added.

Among all the commotion caused by the fire, miscreants targeted empty homes and looted valuables and money. “I had stashed twenty-five thousand rupees and a pair of gold ear rings among other belongings. By the time I returned, all of my belongings were scattered and the valuables and money had vanished. I had saved the money after months of hard work,” said a sobbing Afroza Begum whose shanty was ransacked. Begum’s shanty is located barely two meters from the last shanty that was gutted.

Although officials of the fire department confirmed that there were no casualties, locals said that children who could not escape might have been burnt. “The parents normally go to work leaving their children at home. The children normally stay at home and there was much commotion, there is a good chance that some of them might have been burnt in the fire,” said Raju Sheikh, a local resident.