As many as 26 people were killed and some 40 others injured in a massive fire that broke out at a commercial building near a busy metro rail station in the Indian capital on Friday evening, officials said.
The fire began on the first floor of the four-storey building near west Delhi's Mundka metro station and spread like wildfire to engulf the entire structure within minutes, according to the fire and police officials.
"Some 30 fire tenders have been pressed into service. The blaze has been contained but not fully doused," Delhi Fire Service chief Atul Garg told the local media. "Our men are still scouting for survivors."
A senior police officer said that at least 26 bodies, some charred beyond recognition, had been pulled out of the ill-fated building.
"Fortunately, firemen and police personnel have managed to rescue some 60 people from the building. Those with burn injuries have been hospitalised, but the condition of some of them is critical," he said.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express grief at the loss of lives in the tragedy.
"Distressed by the tragic fire accident at a building near Mundka Metro Station in Delhi. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish for speedy recovery of the injured," the President's office tweeted.
"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery," Modi wrote.
"The owner of the building has been arrested on charges of negligence and a probe initiated," the police officer said.
Building fires are common in India, and are often attributed to poor maintenance and absence of basic fire safety systems. A number of people die in such fires in India every year.
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