Fire sweeps through shantytown of Indian capital

June 22, 2012 - 3:47 AM
India Fire

Residents and fire fighters try to douse down the fire at a scrap yard in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire broke out in a scrap yard and adjoining shanty town behind a government hospital in central Delhi Friday morning, fire brigade officials said, the cause of the fire was not known. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI (AP) — A fire swept through a shantytown Friday morning, sending huge plumes of black smoke rising over the Indian capital.

Twenty fire trucks, with a total of 70 firefighters, were still battling to put the flames out a few hours after the fire was reported, but fire department chief A.K. Sharma said the blaze was no longer in danger of spreading.

No injuries or deaths have been reported yet, he said.

The fire is next to a row of three hospitals in Delhi, the historical part of the Indian capital, but a brick wall separating the two areas has kept the hospitals safe, Sharma said.

The black smoke was coming from burning materials including plastic tarps and bottles, tires and scraps of wood that had been collected by the slum's thousands of residents who work collecting garbage for resale.

Another fire a day earlier in the nation's financial center of Mumbai gutted state government offices and killed three people before authorities could put it out.