Karol Bagh Hotel Fire: Did the Hotel Flout Fire Safety Norms?
At least 17 people were killed in a hotel fire in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. At least another five people have been badly hurt because of the fire which broke out in Delhi’s Arpit Palace Hotel on Tuesday, 12 February.
On this Breaking News edition of The Big Story, we’re bringing you what’s happening in the fire that broke out at the Arpit Palace hotel in Delhi’s Karol Bagh.
A fire broke out at the Arpit Palace Hotel in the early early hours of 12 February. What caused the fire? Why did so many people lose their lives? Had the hotel defaulted on its fire safety norms?
Let’s take this one by one. Listen to the podcast for the whole story:
Karol Bagh Hotel Fire: What Happened?
The Delhi fire service received their first call about the fire at around 4:30 am and sent 24 fire tenders to Arpit Palace. Mohit, one of the paramedics, describes the horror that broke out.
We got the call around 4:30 am, We arrived at the site and saw that only one floor was on fire. As the fire grew and spread to the other floors, two people jumped out of the window. We sent them in an ambulance to Lady Hardinge Hospital. By the time they reached, one was dead and the other was critical, we were told. Both of them are dead.Mohit, Paramedic
Witnesses Speak Up
The moment that Mohit is talking about, when two people fell to their deaths to avoid the fire, was caught on video, and it’s truly horrific.
The two men were identified as Tara Chand, a 30-year-old working as a cook with the hotel and Suresh Kumar, a 52 year old who worked as an assistant Income Tax officer.
The fire started on the fourth floor and spread to the second floor. Eyewitnesses said that most of the victims died because of suffocation from inhaling smoke.
Karol Bagh Hotel Fire: Were Safety Norms Violated?
So was the hotel compliant with fire safety norms? The man who survived the fire says there was no fire safety system. According to Delhi fire safety norms, it’s the hotel owner’s responsibility to install and maintain a fire safety system along with smoke management systems. Apart from this there are at least twenty points on which the hotel has to pass fire safety checks according to the National Building Code of India. Did the hotel comply with all these?
The Vice President of the Delhi Hotels Association, Balan Mani, says that the hotel had the requisite licenses and had stuck to all the norms. He added that without the requisite clearances, the hotel wouldn’t have been allowed to function in the first place.
Most of the people who died, were asleep when the fire broke out. One of the fire officers who were at the site describes how they rescued people and how more people jumped from the burning building to avoid being burned to death.
A wedding party had also booked a number of the rooms at the Arpit Palace the night before the fire. 10 of them escaped in time. The ones who escaped said that they couldn’t find three members of their family.
DCP for South East Delhi MS Randhawa confirmed that the death toll at the time of this report was at 17, and added that search and rescue efforts continued in earnest.
According to sources, Municipal authorities have said that prima facie the fire was caused by a short circuit. Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain has said that the hotel may have violated some safety norms, since there was a bar on the roof, with a canopy overhead.
The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the fire. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal confirmed that the government will give compensation of Rs five lakh each to the families of the deceased.
As of this report the fire has been doused and search operations continue.
This is a developing story and we’ll bring you the latest, so stay tuned to The Quint for all the updates.