• Twelve migrant workers were sleeping in a room on the first floor of the warehouse when the fire spread
  • One worker was able to survive after he jumped out from the first floor
  • Authorities charged the owner of the warehouse, which was found to have had no fire safety measures

Nearly a dozen workers were killed earlier this week in a warehouse fire in the Indian state of Telangana, local authorities said.

A fire broke out in a scrap warehouse in Secunderabad's Bhoiguda locality at around 4 a.m. Wednesday while 12 migrant workers from Bihar were sleeping in a room on the first floor of the building, the New Indian Express reported.

Authorities were called to the warehouse, which was owned by Sravan Scrap Traders, and the fire was extinguished three hours later, a report by The Times of India said.

The bodies of 11 workers were recovered from the warehouse, according to Central Zone deputy commissioner of police M. Rajesh Chandra.

They were identified as Pankaj Kumar, 19, Bittu Kumar, 20, Damodar Mohan Das, 25, Gollu, 25, Durga Ram, 25, Rakesh, 25, Deepak, 26, Sintu, 27, Dinesh, 35, Sikinder, 40 and Satyender Ram, 40.

All the recovered bodies were "charred beyond recognition," V. Papaiah, a regional fire officer, was cited as saying in an earlier story by The Times of India.

Their probable cause of death was asphyxiation due to the thick smoke, the Indian Express reported, citing Secunderabad fire station officer D. Mohan Rao.

Four or five of the bodies were found on top of each other near a spiral staircase that led to the ground floor, according to the outlet.

They might have attempted to reach the ground floor exit or reach for the ceiling out of desperation, an official said.

One worker, who was only identified as Prem, was able to survive by squeezing through narrow bars of a window and jumping out from the first floor.

The bodies of the deceased were to be taken back to Bihar by Thursday morning.

A short circuit in a switchboard near the stairs on the ground floor may have started the fire, which, in turn, triggered a gas cylinder to explode and spread the blaze all over the building, according to a fire department official.

Hyderabad police later visited the warehouse and discovered that there were no fire safety measures at the site.

"For such an establishment, with so much combustible material, there was no fire safety. There was only one exit - the shutter. No one except the owners even knew that the workers were living on the first floor," city police commissioner CV Anand said.

The owner of Sravan Scrap Traders, who was identified only as Sampath, has been charged under sections 304-A (negligence causing death) and 337 (causing hurt by endangering the life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

Telangana's head minister, K. Chandrashekar Rao, announced that the families of the victims will each receive financial compensation of Rs 5 lakh ($6,550), while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised Rs 2 lakh ($2,620).

Representation. A warehouse in India that was engulged by a fire last Wednesday lacked fire safety measures, according to officials. 12019/Pixabay