Secunderabad: Eight people die in hotel fire above e-bike showroom
Eight people, including a young couple from Odisha living in Bangalore, were killed in a Secunderabad hotel in a midnight fire that is suspected to have originated from an electric bike showroom, being allegedly run illegally from the basement of the five-storey building.
Nine others were injured and rushed to various hospitals, police said. Most of the victims were asphyxiated.
TV visuals showed some people trying to jump out of the hotel’s windows.
According to one of the occupants of Ruby Pride hotel who later lodged a police complaint, he had noticed smoke and fire coming out of the basement. He and four others had escaped from the fifth floor of the hotel to the next building and later called up 100 for help.
“It appears there are (a total of) 23 rooms on the four floors (that make up) the hotel. The smoke spread through the staircase from the bottom to the top floor and engulfed all the floors,” Hyderabad police commissioner C.V. Anand, who visited the spot, told reporters.
“Some people sleeping on the first and second floors rushed to the corridor through the thick smoke and died of asphyxiation.”
The reason for the blaze will be known after the fire department’s investigation, Anand said.
“The basement, which usually should be used for parking — obviously they are doing something else. That is a matter of inquiry,” Anand added.
The police said 25 people were staying at the hotel at the time of the incident.
“It is suspected that either an e-bike or a generator placed in the bike showroom exploded, causing the fire,” an officer said.
The e-bike showroom has been run illegally for the past one year, the police said.
The police have registered cases under penal code Sections 304 Part-II (having knowledge that death may be caused by the act) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and Section B of the Explosives Act against the owners of the hotel and the showroom.
Fire-fighters rescued seven guests trapped in the building. They were shifted to hospitals.
The couple from Odisha who died in the fire were identified as Chandan Jethi, 30, and Mitali Mohapatra, 29, from Cuttack. They had married in November 2020. Mitali was attending a job-training programme in Secunderabad.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and announced Rs 2 lakh for the family of each of the dead from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
“Saddened by the loss of lives due to a fire in Secunderabad, Telangana. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF would be paid to the next of kin of each deceased; Rs 50,000 for the injured,” he tweeted.
The Telangana minister for IT and industries, K.T. Rama Rao, expressed grief and said the state government would pay Rs 3 lakh as ex-gratia to the families of the dead.