Leaned Out of Window to Keep Breathing: Delhi Hotel Fire Survivor
Witness accounts from the fire in Arpit Palace Hotel in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. The fire has killed 17 people.
“We kept a good part of our bodies outside the window to be able to breathe,” said a middle-aged man from Cochin who survived the ghastly fire at Arpit Palace Hotel in Delhi’s Karol Bagh early morning on Tuesday, 12 February.
Three of his family members, out of the 13 residing in the hotel, are still missing.
As the hotel engulfed in flames, 17 people were killed and at least five injured by the time the rescue operations ended.
Around 60 people were inside the hotel when the fire broke out.
‘No Clue About 3 Family Members’: Surendra Kumar, Cochin
Surendra Kumar, who was in the city to attend a wedding in Ghaziabad on Monday, 10 February, could not have anticipated that he would wake up to an unfortunate incident the morning after the wedding.
Kumar and his relatives had taken four rooms on the third floor of Arpit Palace Hotel for 13 people. Talking to The Quint, he said that the fire broke out at around 4:30 am. Out of the 13 people, he says 10 have got out safely while others’ whereabouts are still unknown.
“We don’t know where they (family members) are, there is no one inside the hotel now.”Surendra Kumar, Eyewitness
He said he got to know about the fire early in the morning. The electricity went off and came back on after five minutes. Right after the electricity came back on, Kumar says there was a lot of smoke.
He said his brother-in-law alerted him and others. Also, when they were rushing out of the hotel, someone asked them to go upstairs. He says his brother-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law went up while he, along with the others, stayed on the floor and went back to the room, soon to be rescued by the firefighters.
“When I went to brush in the morning, the electricity went off. It came back after 5 minutes. The moment electricity came back on, there was a lot of smoke. I heard someone shouting – when I saw my brother-in-law. Soon after, we started leaving the building. When we moved a few steps ahead, someone asked us to come upstairs. My brother-in-law, sister in law and mother-in-law, all three went upstairs, or they weren’t able to – we have no clue. Rest of us came back to the room and stood right at the window, amid all the smoke inside. We kept a good part of our bodies outside the window to be able to breathe. After some time, the fire engine came and helped us down with their ladder.”Surendra Kumar, Eyewitness
‘Jammed Ladder Made Things Worse’
Aadesh Kumar Singh, a guest in the hotel next to Arpit Palace, said that he got to know about the incident while he was sleeping, around 3:30-4:00 am.
“There was a lot of chaos, we thought it is a chain-snatching or a theft incident. But when we came downstairs, we saw the fire. There was complete chaos.”Aadesh Kumar Singh, Eyewitness
Singh said that what made the situation worse was that the ladder on the first fire truck jammed. According to him, it took a good half-an-hour to get the ladder to work.
“It was when their cranes came, they rescued about 30 to 35 people.”
He also witnessed three people jumping from the hotel to save themselves from the blaze. He said that two men and one lady jumped from the building, further saying that the lady might have got away with only a few fractures while the two men might have died on the spot.
“One foreigner lady even jumped to save herself from the blaze. She might have suffered fracture due to the impact. Two men jumped out because of panic, despite being in a safe spot – those two might have died on the spot. Three people jumped out – one lady, two men.”
‘Stayed for a Night and This Happens to Me’: Lady Who Jumped to Save Self
The woman who jumped out of the second floor of the hotel to save herself from the fire also spoke to The Quint.
Chan Chan, from Myanmar, had reached Delhi on Monday night. She says that when she was first alerted, she did not bother much as she thought it must have been some scuffle. It was when she got a foul smell and opened her door, she saw the fire.
“I saw everything was in flames. I screamed for help but nobody could help. I spotted a wire outside and thought I could climb down with its help. However, the wire broke after I reached the first floor. I fell down and fractured my hip. I stayed in this hotel for one night and this happened to me.”Chan Chan, Survivor
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