A massive fire swept through a four-floor hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh in the early hours of Tuesday, killing at least 17 guests, including a child and two people who jumped off the building in a desperate bid to save themselves, officials said.
The blaze, in which 35 people were injured, started in the second floor of the Arpit Palace Hotel in the heart of the national capital around 3.30 am, trapping many guests who were deep in sleep. There were 53 people in the 45-room hotel, which had a canopy on the terrace housing what appeared to be a restaurant, officials said.
A call about the fire was received at 4.35 am and 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, a senior Delhi Fire Service official said.
Of the 13 bodies, five had been identified — three from Kerala and two from Myanmar. A senior civic official said a suspected short circuit could have sparked the fire.
While the Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe, Home Minister Satyendar Jain said that he has 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.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was among the many politicians and officials who visited the spot, announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the next of kin of those killed. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered cancellation of an event to mark the fourth-anniversary celebration of the AAP government in Delhi on Tuesday.