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New Delhi: Delhi Police on Sunday arrested the owner of the building in which a fire broke out earlier today, which claimed the lives of 43 people.

"Rehan and his manager Furkan have been arrested. The police are also interrogating brothers of Rehan -- Shan and Imran. We are also looking for those who were running the factory. We are investigating the matter. From the information we have, more or less there is no possibility of more bodies being recovered," DCP, North, Monika Bhardwaj told reporters.

According to police, there was some part of the building, which Rehan had not given on rent.

A case has been registered under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code against building owner Rehan, who had absconded after the fire broke out.

As many as 43 people died after the fire broke out in the factory at Anaj Mandi here in the wee hours on Sunday.

Meanwhile, one of the fire personnel, who was the first person to reach the site, was hospitalised in the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital on Sunday and will be kept under observation for 72 hours.

Dr Kishore Singh, Medical Director, LNJP Hospital, said: "The fireman was the first person to reach the site and the last person to leave the place. He has inhaled a lot of smoke, so must be kept under observation for at least 72 hours."

He further stated that the fireman was in a fit and healthy condition, and had suffered a minor injury on his knee cap.

At least 43 people were killed after a massive fire broke out in a factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out in Anaj Mandi area on Rani Jhansi Road on Sunday morning, police said.

Sixteen people are said to be injured in the treatment and are being treated at Delhi's Lok Nayak Hospital and Lady Hardinge hospitals.

Around 62 people were taken out by fire tenders from the building that caught fire in the wee hours.

Aid announced

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday announced financial assistance of Rs200,000 (Dh10,303) each for families of the deceased who hailed from Bihar, in the Delhi fire tragedy.

"The fire tragedy at the Anaj Mandi area in Delhi is an unfortunate incident. My prayers are with those affected by the tragedy," Nitish Kumar said in a release issued by his office.

"For the natives of Bihar affected by the tragedy, their families will get Rs 100,000 each from the labour department and Rs100,000 each from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. The officials are directed to provide support to the injured in their medical treatment," the release added.

Earlier report

At least 43 people have died in a factory fire in India's capital New Delhi, with the toll still expected to rise, police told AFP Sunday.

The blaze broke out in the early hours in the city's old quarter, whose narrow and congested lanes are lined with many small manufacturing and storage units. "We... have since rescued at least 50 people," Sunil Choudhary, New Delhi's deputy chief fire officer, told AFP.

ANI reported that a case had been registered against the owner of the building that went up in flames under the section of the penal code that deals with 'punishment for culpable homicide, not amounting to murder'. The owner, however, has absconded according to reports. 

They were "labourers and factory workers sleeping inside this four- or five-storied building," he said, adding that the fire had been extinguished but rescue operations were ongoing.

PM Modi reacts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday termed the Anaj Mandi fire, which claimed 43 lives, an "extremely horrific" incident and said all his thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones.

"The fire in Delhi's Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road is extremely horrific. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

He wished speedy recovery for the injured and said authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy.

"Wishing the injured a quick recovery. Authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy," he said.

Around 62 people were taken out by fire tenders from the building that caught fire in the wee hours of Sunday.

34 dead were confirmed by the Lok Nayak Hospital, 9 by the Lady Hardinge Hospital, police said.

Delhi CM reacts

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed grief over the incident. Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal called the incident "a very very tragic news" and said that firemen were doing their best.

"V v tragic news. Rescue operations going on. Firemen doing their best. Injured are being taken to hospitals," he tweeted.

Soon after receiving the report of the fire, 15 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the fire and to carry out rescue operations. Given the intensity of the fire, 10-12 more fire tenders were sent at the spot.

Speaking to media, Deputy Fire Chief Officer Sunil Choudhary had said: "A fire broke out in a 600 sq feet plot. It was very dark inside. It is a factory where school bags, bottles and other materials were kept."

The officer further said the fire was of "medium category" and had been completely doused.

What happened?

Mohammad Asim, a local had said, "People called that fire has broken out in the area. The flat was given on rent. It was a short circuit. Fire brigade team and police teams did a great job."

"Prima facie, the fire seems to have occurred due to short circuit. There was a lot of plastic on the premises due to which there was smoke after the fire occurred. The deaths have mostly occurred due to asphyxiation due to smoke. We have shifted most of the injured to LNJP Hospital and Lady Hardinge Hospital," Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said.

The fire had been completely doused and rescue operations are currently underway.

Fire officials said it was very difficult to access the dark, poorly lit premises in the commercial hub of Sadar Bazar.

The building was filled with school bags and packing material, they said, but cautioned they were still unsure about the cause of the fire.

"All the rescued persons were rushed to the nearby local hospitals, which have already confirmed 30 deaths. Some of the others are also in a serious state," Sadar Bazar's assistant commissioner of police told AFP.

"Most who've died were sleeping when the fire broke out and died due to asphyxiation," the official added.

Many factories and small manufacturing units in big Indian cities are often located in old, cramped quarters of the cities, where the cost of land is relatively cheaper.

Such units often also serve as sleeping quarters for poor, mostly migrant labourers and workers, who manage to save money by sleeping overnight at their workplaces.

Lack of planning and lax enforcement of building and safety regulations often leads to such deadly accidents.

-  Inputs from AFP, ANI