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Fire officials say death toll from Delhi building inferno likely to rise

Fire officials say death toll from Delhi building inferno likely to rise
Police officers cordon off the area near a commercial building in the aftermath of a fire in Delhi, India, on Saturday. At least 27 people died in the blaze. Photo by Rajat Gupta/EPA-EFE

May 14 (UPI) -- Fire officials in the Indian city of Delhi concluded rescue operations Saturday in the aftermath of a deadly building fire that claimed 27 lives, with seven victims so far identified.

Delhi Fire Services Chief Atul Garg told reporters the search for survivors in the remains of the four-story building near the city's Mundka metro station wrapped up Saturday afternoon with more charred remains found.

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The additional bodies indicated the death toll could rise to as many as 30, he added.

About 50 people were rescued from the inferno and another 12 were hospitalized with injures, Delhi police said.

Flames engulfed the structure late Friday afternoon after starting on the first floor and quickly spreading throughout the building. Some of those trapped on the upper floors escaped through windows by using ropes.

The building had a single entry and exit point, likely accounting for the high number of casualties, and did not have the proper "no-objection certificate" from the fire department, Garg said.

Punjabi state magistrate officials said seven of the victims have been identified, the Press Trust of India reported.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced compensation of $13,000 for the relatives of each of those killed and $650 for those injured in the fire.

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The owners of a first-floor business were arrested in connection with the fire, as was the building's owner, police announced.

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