Two Telugus among 17 people killed in Delhi blaze

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Hyderabad/Visakhapatnam: 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.

E. Chalapathi Rao’s mortal remains are scheduled to reach his home at Yendada on Wednesday and the cremation could take place on Thursday. His daughter has arrived from Hyderabad while his son is expected from the US on Wednesday evening.

A case was registered against the owner of the hotel, under sections including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The general manager and another employee of the hotel have been arrested and the case has been transferred to the crime branch.

A massive fire swept through the four-floor hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh early on Tuesday, killing at least 17 guests, including a child and two people who jumped off the building to save themselves, officials said. The blaze started on the second floor of the hotel around 3.30 am, trapping many guests who were asleep. There were 53 people in the 45-room hotel, officials said.

A call about the fire was received at 4.35 am and 24 fire tenders rushed to the spot, a senior Delhi fire service official said. At least 35 people were injured in the blaze, said Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), adding that one person was still missing.

“A 43-year-old woman suffered 45 per cent burn injuries,” he 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.

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 he has directed the fire department to inspect buildings which are five-storied or more and submit a report within a week.

Union minister K.J. Alphons said the emergency exit of the Arpit Palace hotel was “too narrow” and also locked. The minister said he was sure that there would be violation of norms.

The Union tourism minister said there were a lot of wooden structures inside which may have helped the fire spread.
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