December 7, 2015 / 8:52 AM / 3 years ago

Warehouse blaze sweeps through slum in India's Mumbai

A woman cries as she sits on debris from her gutted hut after a fire occurred in a slum area in Mumbai, India, December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A warehouse fire swept through a slum in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Monday, triggering a series of gas cylinder explosions, fire brigade and police officials said.

Broadcaster NDTV reported two people died in the fire in a northern suburb and a Reuters photographer said he saw one body in the wreckage. A city hospital employee said at least four casualties had been brought in by rescue workers, but fire fighters said others had been taken to private hospitals.

Fire fighters said cramped conditions in the slum, which houses a number of shacks used for storage, made it difficult for the fire brigade to reach the blaze. They feared residents might have become trapped in the wreckage.

More than 100 huts were destroyed, said the Reuters photographer at the scene, adding that residents were picking through the smoking remains of their homes as fire fighters doused the last of the blaze.

Witnesses on Twitter had reported multiple explosions in Kandivali, the northern suburb, posting photographs and film footage of a plume of thick black smoke rising above the area.

Fires caused by gas explosions and short circuits are not infrequent in Indian cities, where shoddy building work and haphazard electrical installations are common.

The chief fire officer of the Mumbai fire brigade was killed in May after fighting a blaze in the southern part of the city.

Reporting by Swati Bhat and Danish Siddiqui; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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