50 killed, 45 injured in devastating fire at Meerut
Meerut, Apr 10: At least 50 people were feared killed and more than 45 injured when a devastating fire swept through a consumer goods trade fair here this evening in the worst-ever such tragedy in Meerut.
The fire broke out due to a short circuit when there were an estimated 4,000 people inside the mammoth tents erected for the DIG Range R K Vishwakarma said about 200 stalls including food counters were participating in the three-day fair, that started Saturday. The entire structure was centrally air conditioned.
At least 45 people also sustained burns or were injured in the resultant stampede.
The victims' charred bodies could be seen lying all around the spot.
Ten fire tenders were pressed into service to control the flames.
However, the entire hall had reduced to ashes by then.
Meanwhile, all hospitals had been alerted to cope with the rush to injured victims.
The DIG confirmed that the fire destroyed three 'pandals'.
He said the blaze erupted at 1745 hrs.
Eye witnesses said the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Relief and rescue operations were on in full swing.
Some gas cylinders lying inside the 'pandals' had also burst. The 'pandals' were fully covered from all sides because of the air-conditioning arrangements.
Several top industries of Uttar Pradesh had put up stalls at the fair.
Chaos prevailed outside the venue of the fair as wailing relatives of the victims rushed to the spot to locate their near and dear ones.
The eye witnesses said the victims could include several young girls who were managing various stalls put up at the exhibition.