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At least 43 killed in New Delhi market fire

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NEW DELHI: While Indian authorities investigated the cause of a devastating fire that killed at least 43 people in a crowded grains market in central New Delhi yesterday, chaos unfolded outside a hospital where some of the victims were taken.

Firefighters fought the blaze from 100m away because it broke out in one of the area's many alleyways, tangled in electrical wire and too narrow for vehicles to access, the authorities at the scene said.

The fire started at a factory space near Sadar Bazaar, New Delhi's largest wholesale market for household goods.


Many of the victims were factory workers who were asleep when the blaze began, according to police spokesman Yogesh, who goes by one name. Police are investigating whether the factory was operating legally, he said.

Dr Kishore Singh said rescuers brought victims to his government-run hospital and two others in the city. Another 16 people were being treated for burns or smoke inhalation and were in stable condition, he added.

More than two dozen police officers stood guard outside the Lok Nayak Hospital, keeping a crowd of people from entering. Relatives of the workers cried, consoled one another and jostled for information.

Fire Services chief Atul Garg said the blaze was put out by 25 fire trucks and that the rescue operation was completed.

About 60 people, including casualties, were taken out of the building, according to police. The cause of the fire, which erupted around 5.30am, was not immediately clear.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the fire as "extremely horrific".

"My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wishing the injured a quick recovery," he tweeted. - AP