Four people were killed when a fire engulfed a four-storey factory in New Delhi early yesterday, police said.
Mohamed Razi, 20, Mohamed Shamu, 17, Mehbooob Barish, 18, and Ayub, 17, all hailing from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, died of suffocation and burn injuries, the police said. The four were among the workers who lived in the factory premises.
The police said that prima facie the fire started due to an electrical short circuit around 6.30am at the Raja Park factory in Sultanpuri, which made shoe and sandal uppers. Nine fire tenders doused the blaze by 9.50am, a fire officer said.
Residents of the area said that they rescued around 15-20 workers from the first and second floors of the building but had no knowledge about the four trapped on the ground floor.
A senior police officer said factory owner Viresh Gupta, 50, had a few documents from the municipal corporation to run the factory, located in a densely populated residential area.
“We are looking into whether these documents were enough to run the factory. We are still examining whether the factory is legal or illegal. We are questioning the factory owner but have not arrested him so far,” Deputy Commissioner of Police M N Tiwari said.
The area is home to dozens of houses and factories which make jeans and uppers of shoes and sandals.
Labourers working in the building said many factories are run from multi-storeyed buildings in the locality.
District administration and police officials who visited the area said the chances of factories getting proper licences to run businesses in the area are slim.
Ali Mohamed, brother of Razi, said: “He was sleeping along with four others in a room on the first floor when the fire broke out. One of them woke up on hearing the commotion and tried to wake up the others before escaping but they were fast asleep and died.”

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