60 feared killed in Delhi fire
At least 60 people were killed and over 150 people were injured when a fire broke out at Upahar, a South Delhi cinema hall, during the evening show on Friday.
The fire, which broke out at 1710 hours after a transformer burst in the parking lot on the ground floor, was brought under control by 48 fire tenders in about an hour.
Most of the casualties were those in the balcony area of the hall which was packed with people who had come to watch the multi-starrer Border on its opening day.
United News of India correspondents counted at least 41 bodies at the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences. AIIMS doctors said most of them
were brought dead. The bodies, however, did not carry burn injuries,
indicating that they might have been killed due to suffocation or
in the stampede.
Though the official death toll was much lower, police and fire
brigade sources, who did not want to be identified, confirmed that
about 60 people were killed.
While 41 bodies lay at AIIMS, 16 bodies lay at the Safdarjang
hospital across the road. There were 12 women and 12
children among the dead at AIIMS.
Raman Sidhu, manager at a foreign bank, lost nine members of his family, including his wife and two children. The other dead were his sister, her two children, his best friend,
his wife and child.
Confusion prevailed at the two hospitals which are located about 1.5
kilometres from the cinema hall as people tried to find their friends and relatives.
Sanjay Singh, owner of a printing firm which has
its office at the cinema hall complex, said he heard the transformer
burst and cars in the parking lot catching fire. At least 20 cars
were gutted in the fire.
The false ceiling of his office and the wooden partitions then
caught fire and he ran out to safety. He said he saw people breaking down the
glass windows of the theatre and rushing out.
Eyewitnesses said the fire engines reached the site half-an-hour later because of the heavy evening traffic.
The five-storey theatre complex, owned by the Ansals, also housed
several offices. It is located in one of the busiest areas of South
People had packed the hall in large numbers to watch the film on its opening day.
Tickets for today's show and for subsequent days had been sold out many days in advance.