Rooftop restaurant was unauthorised: Officials
New Delhi: The fifth floor of Hotel Arpit Palace, where a massive fire snuffed 17 lives, was being used as a rooftop restaurant which was "unauthorised", officials said Tuesday. The fifth floor was sealed with a brick wall after which a fire safety certificate was issued, officials said and indicated that later the wall was demolished to run the rooftop restaurant. As per the North MCD records, the hotel building had also faced action years back under the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act for illegal constructions.
They said the fifth floor was shaded with acrylic roof and being used as a terrace restaurant by the hotel management and added that kitchen and chairs were found by them during the fire fighting and cooling operations. "The fifth floor was sealed with brick wall when a fire safety certificate was issued to Hotel Arpit Palace on December 12, 2014," said a Delhi Fire Service (DFS) officer.
Later, a reinspection was done by the DFS on December 4, 2017, and the owner was "deemed complied" with fire safety norms at the hotel premises and it was declared "fit" for "occupancy class residential"(guesthouse) with effect from December 24, 2017 for a period of three years, he said. "Apparently, the wall used to seal the fifth floor was dismantled and it was being used for a terrace restaurant," the official said. The fire safety certificate was issued only for basement being used as storage, ground floor which was used for a restaurant and reception, first and second floor having 12 guest rooms each, third and fourth floor having 11 guest rooms each, he added.