Nine persons, including an assistant general manager, were killed in a fire at the washing machines manufacturing factory of Onida at Mandawali in Manglaur area of Haridwar that started late on Wednesday night.

It took six fire tenders to fight the fire. Nine badly burnt bodies were had been recovered and attempts were made to recover at least two more persons trapped inside, police said on Thursday.

The factory officials gave a list of 11 persons who were inside when fire broke out. Amongst the deceased were Sunil Jham, assistant general manager, police said.

The fire started last night and assumed gigantic proportions before the fire tenders reached. Fire tenders from neighbouring Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar were also summoned.

Fire tenders were dousing the fire for long hours while their progress was being hampered by heavy smoke. “We will try to recover at least two more persons trapped inside”, Arun Kumar Pandey, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Manglaur said. Although the cause of fire is yet to be ascertained, the lack of fire-fighting equipment in the factory or with the local authorities has been exposed and it was high time the government enforced safety laws in all industrial units, said Chaudhary Narender Singh, a social worker.

Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva and Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri expressed shock over the incident. Mr. Khanduri sanctioned an ex gratia of Rs. 1 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. A magisterial probe has been ordered and DNA tests of the bodies may be required, a senior official said.

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