After a fire broke out at a three-storeyed building in Kirari area, the neighbours made every possible effort to save the people living inside but it was all in vain.
The neighbours said they tried to broke open the main gate of the building, but was locked from inside.
"We called the police and fire department, but they came late. Till then, I tried to break open the main entrance of the building, but it was locked from inside. Later, other people joined me," Avdhesh Pathak, who lives in the adjacent building, said.
On Friday, a massive fire ripped through the residential-cum-commercial building in outer Delhi's Kirari area, killing at least nine people, including three children.
Another neighbour Rajesh Kumar (49), who works in a private company, said this is the second such incident in the area.
"I was about to sleep when I heard some cries. I rushed there and saw that the ground floor of the building was engulfed in fire. We tried to save them till the time fire brigade came to the spot.
"Due to a cylinder blast on the second floor of the building, I received a minor injury on my leg as the bricks fell on the adjacent plot," Kumar claimed.
Nine fire tenders were deployed to control the blaze after a distress call was received at 12.30 am and it was brought under control by 3.50 am.
Locals and firefighters rescued three people. Pooja, 24, her three-year-old daughter Aaradhya and niece Saumya, 10, a police official said, adding that only Saumya received 15 per cent burn injuries.
Pathak said he heard Pooja's cry and saw her on her terrace.
"When I saw Pooja, along with Saumya and Aaradhya, on terrace, I went upstairs and took a wooden ladder to take them out of the building. Pooja was the one who came first, followed by the kids," Pathak said.
Nazir Hussain, who also live in the same area, said the victims were crying for help but they could not do anything.
"The ground floor was completely on fire and the building was full of smoke. Many of them were crying for help but due to the flames, nobody could help. This is not the first incident of fire which happened in the area," Hussain said.
Those killed in the blaze were identified as the building owner Ram Chandra Jha (65), residents Sudariya Devi (58), Sanju Jha (36), Guddan, Udaykant Chaudhary (33) and his wife Muskan (26), their children Anjali (10), Adarsh (7) and three-month-old Tulsi, the fire department said.
Sadhana, who also lives in the adjacent building, said she was sleeping when the fire broke out.
"I was sleeping inside my house with my family when the incident happened. I woke up after hearing noises. When I saw the smoke, I immediately rushed to the house of our neighbour," she said.
Sadhana said she later sent her children to their relative's house in Agar Nagar as they were scared after the incident.
The autopsy of seven people was completed at Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Sultanpuri.
A senior police official said the single entry-exit point of the building was locked from inside when they reached the spot to douse the fire.
The official said it appears that Udaykant Chaudhary, one of the deceased, had locked the gate of his house from inside. When the smoke filled the floor, he died of asphyxia. Had he tried to escape through the balcony, the chances of survival would have been more, he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)