Karol Bagh hotel blaze jolts city
Two held, owner Subhendu Goel on the run
Blocked emergency exit led to mass casualties
New Delhi: The initial investigation by Delhi Police in the Karol Bagh's hotel fire incident revealed that some blockage was there in the emergency exit route of the hotel. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa stated that prima facie revealed negligence from the side of the hotel. "We have filed the case against Subhendu Goel (Owner). Lapses found from the part of two employees Vijender (General Manager) and Vikas (Manager)," said Singh adding that Goel is absconding.
When asked whether the hotel was going for an auction DCP said they are probing the case. "We have seized some papers in the case," said DCP adding that the case has been transferred to the crime branch. As many as five women died in the incident. "Two who jump from the hotel died in the incident," said the officer adding that three Myanmar national were also the victims in the incident.
"People from all over the state were inside the hotel and after the incident, we first conducted rescue operation and then started the identification of the deceased. Victims were counselled," added the DCP.
Wooden cascading and close windows led to hotel tragedy
Wooden cascading and close windows in the morning led to the mass casualty inside the hotel of Karol Bagh area. The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) claimed that most of the bodies found on the third and fourth with partial burn injuries.
Around 4:35 am the DFS got the information regarding fire and without wasting time they reached the spot. As the incident took place in the morning, people inside the hotel were sleeping. "Basically when the DFS teams entered the hotel it was filled with smoke because the routes including windows were closed," said Chief Fire Officer (DFS) Atul Garg.
He further stated that stairs had wooden cascading and there were many combustible materials inside the hotel which act as a catalyst in spreading the fire. "The place has fire NOC and fire extinguishers were also there. We will form a team and investigate whether the equipment was working or not," said Garg. It is being suspected that the fire gutted the first exit route connecting the main door. According to police, poor wiring can be another reason behind the fire. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team also conducted a final search with their canines inside the hotel.
They were crying for help: Eyewitnesses
New Delhi: "They were crying for help waving hands to save it was the horrific situation," said the eyewitnesses present at hotel's inferno spot in Karol Bagh. Alok and his friend Aadesh were staying in the hotel close to Arpit Palace. In the morning he heard the doorbell and then came outside his room. "I heard lots of noise so I came down only to see people through window waving hands and crying for help," said Alok.
He further stated that on the fourth floor he saw smoke coming out from the window which later turned into flames." A person jumped from the floor but the timing was not good so he got hit by the window and fell," said Aadesh adding that in few minutes another person, a woman jumped and landed on the floor.
A resident Balanmani who claimed himself as local RWA member stated that the people who were watching the scene where provoking woman to jump with a kid which was totally dangerous. He further stated that it was total chaos and stampede like situation. "In order to rescue themselves, people were falling in one another at the hotel main gate," said Balanmani. Reports were also coming that through mobile torches, people who were trapped inside the hotel tried to attract a crowd which had gathered near the hotel.
Another resident, Rajendra Singh stated that the hotel was made in the 90s and it was the first time such an incident happened. "Earlier in the area, there were no hotels later it started flourishing," said Singh.
Meanwhile, the local residents claimed that one of the roads was closed near the stay which delayed fire tenders to reach the spot. "When the first fire tender came the ladder was not opening properly. Later another fire tender came and they started the rescue work," said the residents.