Two workers were killed and at least 18 others suffered burns and other injuries after a massive fire broke out on Tuesday at a shoe manufacturing and packaging factory in the Narela Industrial Zone, New York. outside Delhi, police said.

The semi-charred bodies of the two workers were found in a bathroom on the first floor. It emerged that the pair had locked themselves in the bathroom after becoming trapped in the fire that had engulfed the first and second floors of the four-story building, health officials said. Delhi Fire Department (DFS) involved in the firefighting and rescue operation.

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They said several workers saved their lives either by jumping from the building or by crossing adjacent buildings from the roof.

“No fire fighting devices were found at the plant. The plant was operating without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department. to take necessary action against the factory and its owner,” DFS chief Atul Garg said.

Police said a total of 20 injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital, where two were pronounced dead. The deceased were later identified as Sonu Thakur, 24, from Banka in Bihar, and Akhil Kumar, 20, from Narela.

Deputy Police Commissioner (Outer-North) Devesh Kumar Mahla said that according to factory workers, the fire started due to an explosion in a polyurethane (PU) machine used to produce the shoe soles.

“Workers said the PU machine had developed a fault and was not working properly. They had told the factory owner several times to have it repaired. However, the machine was not repaired and the workers continued production with the faulty machine,” said DCP Mahla.

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Police have registered a case against the factory owner, identified as Sahil Garg (30), under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, negligent conduct in relates to machinery, causing injury by an act endangering the life or personal safety of others and common intent.

DCP said Garg, a Pitampura resident in Delhi, is on the run and teams have been formed to arrest him.

Arun Kumar, a cousin of Thakur, one of the deceased, told media that he was the only member of his family who won after his father died. “My cousin had been working in Delhi for four or five years. He had returned to Delhi from Banka after celebrating Diwali,” Arun said.

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