17 killed in Delhi hotel fire
At least 17 people, including a child, died in a fire early on Tuesday at a hotel in New Delhi that left at least four others injured, police said.
The fire at the Arpit Palace Hotel has been extinguished, but authorities are still investigating what sparked it, deputy police commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said. 'We have to check the stability of the structure, check every room,' he said.
The hotel is located on Gurudwara Road in Karol Bagh, an area full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists.
Twenty-five fire engines responded to the blaze, which had engulfed all but the ground floor of the five-storey hotel, fire officer Vijay Paul said.
About three dozen people were rescued from the hotel, Paul added.
Among those rescued was Sivanand Chand, 43, a hotel guest who was jolted awake around 4 am, struggling to breathe.
'When I got out of my room, I could hear 'help, help!' from adjoining rooms,' Chand told The Associated Press, adding that he opened the window and saw flames rising very fast. 'In 15 minutes, the whole room was black.'
The rescue took about 30 minutes because fire engine ladders could not initially reach Chand's floor, Chand said.
A video of the incident showed two people jumping from the fourth floor of the burning building. According to eyewitnesses, most deaths were caused due to suffocation. They said the wooden panelling in the corridors of the hotel helped the fire spread.
A fire department official said some fire extinguishers were found used, suggesting that people trapped inside tried to douse the blaze in a bid to escape.
The injured were taken to hospitals, but their medical conditions were not immediately known.