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Delhi factory fire: Newly-wed 29-year old firefighter among those dead

He married in February 2019 and is survived by his wife, father, mother, one younger brother and two younger sisters.

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Delhi factory fire in Peera Garhi
Smoke billows from a battery factory after a blaze led to the collapse of the building where firefighters were dousing fire, at Peeragarhi in New Delhi | PTI

A fortnight before he would have turned 29, Amit Kumar Balyan died saving lives during a building collapse in Peeragarhi in northwest on Thursday.

Balyan had joined the Fire Service as a fire operator after successfully completing his basic training on June 10, 2019. A resident of Meetnagar, he was posted at Kirti Nagar fire station.

He married in February 2019 and is survived by his wife, father, mother, one younger brother and two younger sisters.

The firefighter, who was rescued after a portion of the three-storey building collapsed following an explosion, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

Officials said 17 others were injured in the fire that broke out early Thursday.

Ved Pal Chhikara, assistant divisional officer of the fire department, said the rescue operation became difficult after the rear portion of the building collapsed following the explosion.

"We got information around 8 am regarding the collapse following a blast inside the building. Total four persons, including three firemen, were trapped. We broke the portions of two buildings on either side of the premises where fire occurred.

"Civilians were taken out first, following which two firemen -- Manjeet and Mahavir -- were moved out. Balyan was the last person who was rescued around 3 pm. He was taken to Balaji Hospital where he was declared dead," Chhikara said.

Fire Service Fire Director Atul Garg said Balyan was trapped for almost six hours.

He was on the ground floor during the rescue operation and died due of injuries suffered when a mould of debris fell on him, Garg added.

Balyan's wife Shivani is a constable in UP police and posted in Ghaziabad. His father Babu Ram is an assistant sub-inspector in Delhi Police. Surrounded by relatives outside the mortuary of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, where Balyan's body is kept for post-mortem, Ram was numb with shock.

"I did not tell my family about the incident when I received a call. I thought my son had suffered minor injuries and would be fine. Later, when I reached the spot, there were many fire tenders and my son was under the debris. I got to know that some other firemen were also trapped inside.

"The firemen were running with safety equipment and each time they pulled out a man from the building, I thought it was Amit. The fire personnel pulled him out of the debris around 3 pm, following which I called my family informed them about the incident. I saw him unconscious with blood on his nose and head," said Ram.

His family members said they cannot do the funeral on a Thursday, so they will take the body from the hospital Friday morning, Chhikara said. "We will take his body to the Fire Safety Management Academy in Rohini to pay tributes and then will hand it over to the family members."

"We received information around 10 am that Balyan was trapped under the debris. We rushed to the spot and waited for the officials to rescue him. He recently got married and it is very unfortunate that he died," one of his neighbours said.

The government gives an ex-gratia of Rs one crore to the family of uniformed services personnel who died in line of duty.

According to an official, the scheme covers personnel serving with armed forces, para military forces, Delhi Police, Services, district disaster management staff, home guards and civil defence.

The armed forces and paramilitary personnel qualify for the scheme if they had Delhi as permanent residence at the time of joining.

First Published: Thu, January 02 2020. 22:30 IST