At least 17 people, including a child, have died in a Delhi hotel fire that broke out early on Tuesday morning, police said. Among the dead were a woman and a child who tried to escape by jumping from a window, the Indian Express said.
A call was received at 4.30 a.m. from Arpit Palace Hotel and immediately 25 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the officer at the Delhi Fire Department headquarters told IANS.
After an hours-long operation, firefighters rescued 35 people from the hotel, most of which was engulfed in flames. All the 13 taken to RLM hospital have died, of the 5 admitted to Lady Hardinge Hospital, 2 have succumbed to their injuries.
Delhi 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 the six constructed.
Officials said they believe the blaze was caused by a short circuit.
Most of the victims - including many from a wedding party - were said to be sleeping when the fire broke out. Those staying in the hotel included a group of tourists from Myanmar, broadcaster NDTV said, adding that authorities were trying to ascertain their whereabouts. According to eyewitnesses, most deaths were caused due to suffocation. The fire has already been controlled and the cooling process was underway.
At least 35 others were rescued from the five-storey building.
Jain blamed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for the violation and said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered.
"We have to check the stability of the structure, check every room", Deputy Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.
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