Fire sweeps through slum in Indian capital

Associated Press
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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 slum in the Indian capital on Friday, destroying hundreds of shanties where residents had collected scrap plastic and rubber for resale.

No one was reported injured or killed, fire department chief A.K. Sharma said.

It took 25 fire trucks and some 70 firefighters about two hours to put out the flames. Black smoke billowed from burning heaps of plastic bottles, tarps, rubber tires and scraps of wood that had been amassed by the slum's thousands of residents who make a living collecting garbage for resale.

The fire destroyed nearly all of the makeshift slum dwellings that had been clustered next to three hospitals in the historical part of Delhi. The hospitals were protected from the blaze by a brick wall, Sharma said.

Resident Nasima Khatum cried as she surveyed the smoldering remains of the home where she lived with her two children.

"We used to sit here and eat and also used to sleep here," she said. "We are very poor."

Another fire a day earlier in the financial center of Mumbai gutted state government offices and killed five people before authorities could put it out, authorities said Friday.