17 killed in fire at shoddy New Delhi hotel, 4 others hurt

A fire has swept through a budget hotel in New Delhi killing at least 17 people, authorities say, raising fresh questions about safety standards in the poorly regulated budget accommodation market.

Two Telugus, one from Telangana state and another from Andhra Pradesh, were among the 17 people killed in a fire at Hotel Arpit Palace in New Delhi early on Tuesday. Some were injured and have been taken to hospital.

A call was received at 4.30 am from Karol Bagh's Arpit Palace Hotel and immediately 25 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, IANS quoted an officer of the Delhi fire department as saying.

"As per information gathered from the site, it reveals that the incidence of fire accrued at second floor at around 3.30am on February 12 due to short-circuit", the official said.

Mr Kumar, who sustained head injuries following the jump from the fourth floor of the building, was rushed to a nearby hospital in Delhi where he died. Different agencies pointed out several violations on the part of the hotel's management, including closure of the emergency exit gates at the time of fire, which trapped the victims inside the establishment. We recovered only two dead bodies from the corridors and the rest 15 from inside the rooms where there was no fire.

"There was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people couldn't use corridors to evacuate", fire officer Vipin Kental said.

The blaze was brought under control around 7 am.

In recent months, officials have shut down a number of shops and restaurants in some of Delhi's most exclusive neighbourhoods for not following fire safety measures. The fire has already been controlled and the cooling process was underway.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of life in a statement posted on Twitter. "Ordered fire inspection of buildings in the area".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.

  • Tracy Klein