Death toll in Delhi hotel fire rises to 17, questions of safety raised
12 February, 2019, 11:55
At least 17 people, including a Keralite, died and 66 others were injured in a major fire that broke out in a central Delhi hotel early on Tuesday. A woman and a child, among those dead, were killed when they tried jumping from a window, reports said. "Three people are injured", GC Misra, the director of Delhi Fire Services, told AFP.
The fire at the Arpit Palace Hotel has been extinguished, but authorities are still investigating what sparked it, Deputy Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.
The fire is believed to have been caused by a short circuit but the evacuation was hampered by narrow corridors, panelled in wood.
"We have confirmed with hospital authorities, the toll is now 17 including a child", Sunil Choudhary, a senior fire brigade official, told AFP.
Images showed thick smoke and flames billowing out of the top floor of four-storey hotel, popular with budget travellers.
Fire was reported on third and fourth floor, but the blaze spiralled down as well.
Guests at the hotel, popular with budget and business travellers, were unable to use corridors to escape because of wooden panelling, according to a fire officer.
Unconfirmed reports say the death toll is likely to rise as numerous injured jumped from the burning building to the ground. Most people jumped out of the upper floors of the hotel to save their lives.
In December, six people were killed when a fire engulfed a hospital in Mumbai, the capital of western Maharashtra state.
Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain said, "According to building bylaws, buildings can not be over four-storeys (parking & four storeys) in this area".
Four people were killed in November a year ago in a factory fire in Beadonpura area in Karol Bagh after a solvent used for laundering clothes spilt out on the floor accidentally.
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