Karol Bagh fire: Delhi govt announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for kin of all 17 victims; says hotel's negligence led to blaze

A fire at a hotel in Delhi's Karol Bagh's area killed 17 people, including a woman and a child on Tuesday morning. Most of the guests died of suffocation.

Delhi chief minister Kejriwal announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of all those killed in the accident after visiting the spot.

State health minister Satyendra Kumar Jain has declared the blaze at Hotel Arpit Palace as a case of negligence, saying that the hotel had flouted rules by being allowed to build six floors instead of three. Jain blamed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for the violation and said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered.

According to reports, 22 fire tenders were rushed to Hotel Arpit Palace where the fire broke out around 4 am when most people in the hotel were sleeping. Some members of the hotel staff,  jumped off the building to save themselves and were rushed to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

The fire was doused around 7 am, however, the rescue operation went on for four hours and the firefighters and Delhi police officials were able to rescue 35 people. The cause of the fire was not known immediately but officials hinted at a short circuit.  "As per information gathered from the site, it reveals that the incidence of fire accrued at second floor at around 3.30 AM on February 12 due to short-circuit," a senior civic official told PTI.

The fire department will conduct an inquiry into the incident and the Delhi Police has also lodged an FIR against the hotel administration and will further investigate the negligence caused on their part.

A woman and a child also died in the blaze. Most of the deaths took place due to suffocation, the police said. "There was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people couldn't use corridors to evacuate," fire officer Vipin Kental said.

"Two hotel staff members had jumped from the fourth floor of the hotel in an attempt to save themselves. The status of the staff who jumped is yet to be known." The injured have been taken to the hospital, officials said. A fire department official said some fire extinguishers were found used suggesting people trapped inside tried to douse the fire in a bid to escape.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the Delhi Hotel Association Balan Mani told ANI that all fire norms were maintained in the hotel. "It was due to fire in ducting because of which it spread to the hotel rooms. All norms were followed here. A license is issued only after inspection," Mani said. "Mishappening can occur in a house as well," he added.  The hotel was first granted a licence in October 2005 and was renewed every year. The last renewal was done on 25 May, 2018 and was valid till 31 March.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief on the incident and offered condolences to the family of those killed.

On 7 February, a fire broke out in Metro Hospitals and Heart Institute in Noida, trapping several people inside the multi-storeyed building. No casualty was reported in the incident, PTI reported. Gautam Buddh Nagar district magistrate BN Singh had said more than 60 people were inside the hospital when the incident occurred. Reportedly, all patients were evacuated safely.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2019 13:28:34 IST

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