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Challenges in Mundka Fire Rescue Operations

As per eyewitness accounts, the four-storey building caught fire at 3.30 pm on Friday. The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) chief, however, said that a fire call was only received at 4.40 pm – 70 minutes after the first flame was spotted.

MK Chattopadhyay, 56, a fire divisional officer at the DFS, told The Quint, “I reached the spot within minutes along with six-seven fire tenders. When I reached there, I saw that the whole building was on fire; the ground, first, second and third floors were on fire. This indicated that the fire had been raging for a while.”

Sandeep Duggal, 50, another fire divisional officer with the DFS, said that usually when such a massive fire take place, the service is inundated with callers “who are mostly passers-by”.

This time, however, “it wasn’t the case.”

Duggal added, “It’s puzzling. Did the public not take this seriously? If anyone calls the police or an ambulance service, a call reaches us via the police and the ambulance service. Even that didn’t happen.”

Both Chattopadhyay and Duggal said that a tragedy of this scale could have been avoided had a call been made sooner.

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