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Over 50 feared dead in Indian electronics show fire

Posted: 12 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Spencer Chin? consumer electronics? fire? India?

A fast-moving fire at a consumer electronics show this Monday in northern India likely killed upwards of 50 people and injured over 100, according to several online news reports.

The trade fair was being held in the rural town of Meerut, about 50 miles northeast of New Delhi. The show, called Brand India according to an online report in the Indian newspaper Mumbai Mirror, had on display washing machines, stereos and other electronic goods.

Reports on the number of dead and injured vary as authorities continue to scavenge through the charred remains of a tent housing part of the fair that caught fire. While an Associated Press (AP) report said 45 were killed and 160 were injured, a Reuters report said at least 51 were killed with at over 100 injured.

Witnesses described a horrific scene, with injured victims screaming, three enormous tents destroyed, and rescuers pulling out corpse after corpse.

"Dead bodies are strewn around, most of them are charred beyond recognition. The bodies were dumped into trucks, jeeps and ambulances and taken away from the public glare," said Prakash Arya, a witness reached at the scene on his mobile phone in one report.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. A politician was quoted as saying in a local TV report the fire may have originated in plastic sheeting hanging over an air conditioning unit.

The AP reported the fire began around 5:30 pm locally and was quickly put out. But the fast-moving fire wreaked immediate havoc, with emergency vehicles racing through the narrow streets leading to the fair site, which had been erected in a park in the town center.

- Spencer Chin
EE Times

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