A short circuit is suspected to be the cause of the fire that broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh area in the early hours of Tuesday, PTI reported. At least 17 people, including a child, were killed and three were wounded in the fire.
Delhi Hotel Association Vice President Balan Mani claimed that the fire started in the ducting, spreading quickly to hotel rooms, ANI reported. “All norms were followed here and licence was issued only after inspection,” he added. “Mishaps can occur in a house as well.”
An unidentified civic body official told the news agency that the fire began on the second floor of the hotel around 3.30 am. The fire department reportedly received the call at 4.35 am and deployed 24 fire tenders to douse the blaze. Rescue operations continued till late in the morning, with the injured being taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. As many as 35 people were rescued, NDTV reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the loss of lives. “I convey my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” he tweeted. “May the injured recover soon.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Rs 5-lakh compensation for the victims’ families, PTI reported. His deputy Manish Sisodia expressed condolences and announced that an event organised by the government in which musician Vishal Dadlani was scheduled to perform had been cancelled. Dadlani said the concert has been rescheduled and “alternate dates will be announced”.
Congress leader KV Thomas demanded an inquiry into the incident and adequate compensation for those affected by the fire. “A large number of people of my constituency were staying in the hotel and 10 to 15 persons are missing,” Thomas, an MP from Kerala’s Ernakulam, said in the Lok Sabha.
The fire was brought under control by 7.30 am, and cooling operations began at 8 am, The Times of India reported. The police have filed a first information report and are investigating if the hotel management had been negligent. The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, Cabinet minister Satyendar Jain said after visiting the hotel.