Hotel fire: Closed emergency exit doors to blame

Most victims died of suffocation, Fire Chief Officer G.C. Mishra said.

A fireman stands outside the hotel where a fire broke out in New Delhi, India, February 12, 2019.

While numerous victims were charred to death or suffocated in the poisonous fumes, at least three people were killed when they reportedly jumped off the building in desperate attempts to escape the blaze.

According to the fire officer, the hotel had fire-fighting equipment, but it is not known whether it was functional or not.

The hotel is said to have flouted several safety norms.

Miraculously, five people were also pulled alive from the flames.

During the four-hour long rescue operation, around 50 people were pulled out from the hotel by the police and fire service officials. 30 fire tenders had rushed to the spot.

"There was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people couldn't use the corridors to leave the hotel", firefighter Vipin Kenta told the Hindustan Times newspaper. Eyewitnesses said the dead included a woman and a child who attempted to jump from a window to safety.

Satyendar Jain, Delhi's urban development minister said that the hotel will be investigated for building code violations.

The hotel comprises of basement, ground floor and four other floors.

Fire disasters are particularly frequent in Mumbai, India's financial capital where millions live in cramped and dilapidated properties because of high rents.

We will come out with it by today, and fix the responsibility on the hotel owners if there was any laxity on their part, " he added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of life in a statement posted on Twitter.

A fire department official said some fire extinguishers were found used suggesting people trapped inside tried to douse the fire in a bid to escape.

Vanessa Coleman

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