Hotel fire in Delhi kills 17

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By Aminul Islam Mirja

NEW DELHI, Feb 12, 2019 (BSS) – At least 17 people were killed and 35
others injured as a devastating fire ripped through the top floors of a six-
story building in the central Delhi early today.

Police and witnesses said the fire broke out in predawn hours claiming the
17 lives at the Arpit Palace hotel in Delhi’s crammed Karol Bagh area while
most of the victims were asleep.

Media reports said of the victims, a woman and a child were killed as they
tried jumping from a window as the fire broke out on the top floor.

Earlier, AFP reported that many of the victims were charred to death or
suffocated in the poisonous fumes and at least three people were killed when
they reportedly jumped off the building in desperate attempts to escape the
blaze.

Over two dozens of fire fighter units were sent to the scene while fire
officials suspected an electric short circuit could have sparked the blaze
and wooden paneling in the rooms and corridors inside helped the fire spread.

“We just took a look at the emergency exits. It’s all illegal. These are
very narrow, not according to specifications. And they were closed at night,”
Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons said after visiting the spot.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Home Minister Satyendar Jain also
visited the location and ordered a magisterial inquiry to unearth the cause
behind the fire.

Talking to NDTV, the Delhi Home Minister said there was “a clear case of
negligence” here even though the law limits construction only to four floors,
the hotel had a fifth and sixth floor with a canopy that housed a kitchen and
dining area.

“We have ordered for a magisterial inquiry into the case. Seventeen people
have died, most of them of suffocation. Apparently, there were lapses and
action will taken against those found guilty,” he said.

Jain told reporters that he also directed the fire department to inspect
buildings which are five floors or more and submit a report on their fire
safety compliance within a week.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
expressed profound grief over the deaths.

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