Karol Bagh hotel fire: Delhi govt orders probe, directs fire safety inspection of multi-storeyed buildings

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the site and announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of those killed in a massive fire.

New Delhi: The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the massive fire that broke out at a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area on Tuesday in which at least 17 people were killed.

Home Minister Satyendar Jain who visited the Arpit Palace Hotel where the fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, told reporters 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.

News agency Reuters reported that a large part of the 35-room hotel had been booked by a wedding party. Among the dead in the fire incident were a child and a woman who tried to escape inferno by jumping through a window in the hotel room they occupied. Most of the victims were sleeping when the fire broke out.

“We have ordered for a magisterial inquiry into the case. Seventeen people have died, most of them of suffocation. Apparently, there were lapses (from the hotel administration’s side) and action will taken against those found guilty,” said Satyendar Jain.

Generally, four floors are allowed for such establishments, the minister said. “We saw a canopy was put up on the terrace and tables and chairs were laid out. Inside in the rooms, wooden panels were there on the walls,” Jain said.

“So I have also directed the fire department to inspect such multi-storeyed buildings which have five floors or more and submit a report in a week’s time,” he said.

However, Delhi Hotel Association vice president Balan Mani told ANI, “All norms were followed here; license is issued only after inspection. Mishappening can occur in a house as well.” He also said, “It was due to fire in ducting because of which it had spread to the hotel rooms.”

“There was wooden paneling on corridor because of which people couldn’t use corridors to evacuate,” news agency ANI quoted fire officer Vipin Kental as saying.

A call about the fire was received at 4.35 am and 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Service said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the site and announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of those killed in a massive fire.

“A 43-year-old woman suffered 45 per cent burn injuries,” Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) told reporters, adding that 13 of the bodies had been taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, two to Lady Hardinge Hospital and one to BLK hospital.

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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives. “Deeply saddened by the loss of lives due to a fire at Karol Bagh in Delhi. I convey my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” he tweeted.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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