3 killed in fire were visiting for wedding

A woman cries as she cannot find her relative who was staying in a hotel where a fire broke out in New Delhi, India, February 12, 2019. REUTERS

Thirteen of a family from Kerala's Kochi were to head to leave Delhi in less than two hours for the holy town of Hardwar on Wednesday morning and later Amritsar before they returned home. But fate had something else in store for them as three of them lost their lives to a massive blaze in a Delhi hotel.

They were in Delhi to attend a wedding in nearby Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, in the suburbs of the capital, but the celebrations were short-lived as Naliniyamma, her son Vidyasagar and daughter Jayashree lost their lives to the fire which started at around 3:30 am in Hotel Arpit Palace in central Delhi's Karol Bagh.

All of them belong to Cheranelloor in Kochi and three ill-fated three were staying in the second floor of the hotel. Ten others from the family who were staying in the same hotel escaped unhurt as they managed to negotiate their way through the smoke-filled staircase.

Somasekharan, one of the survivors in the family, told DH that they were to take a train to Hardwar at 6:45 am and later move to Amritsar from where they were fly back to Kochi on February 14. They had reached Delhi on February 7 and had attended the wedding of grand daughter of Naliniyamma's elder sister. They had checked into the hotel on February 10 after spending two days in Agra.

"Jayashree's body was found in the second floor where we were staying. However, Naliniyamma and Vidyasagar's body suffered burn injuries and were found in upper floors," he said. Another member of the family Sreekesh said when he and his parents woke up, there were full of smoke in the room.

"I immediately called fire service. After some 20-25 minutes we were rescued by breaking open the windows. As we were coming out the stairs were full of smoke," Sreekesh said adding he believed that Naliniyamma and Vidyasagar climbed the stairs up in panic and could have been charred to death.

Amit Trivedi, a sales executive from Ahmedabad who was in Delhi for business purposes, said he lost his mobile phone and other articles in the fire. None could see anything and some of us trampled upon others, he said.

Eye-witnesses said a mother and child jumped from a window to escape the fire but were killed. A man who jumped out of the building survived with head injuries after he fell on a car.

Most of the inmates in the hotel were tourists or people like the family from Kochi came to the capital to attend some family functions.

Besides the Keralites, other victims included two each from Myanmar and Tamil Nadu as well as one from Gujarat. (ENDS)

Family was to return to Kerala, but 3 die in Delhi fire

NEW DELHI, DHNS: Thirteen of a family from Kerala's Kochi were to return home on Wednesday but tragedy truck them when three of them lost their lives to a massive blaze in a Delhi hotel.

They were in Delhi to attend a wedding in nearby Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, in the suburbs of the capital, but the celebrations were short-lived. They had attended the wedding of a relative here.

All of them belong to Cheranelloor in Kochi and three ill-fated three were staying in the top floor of Hotel Arpit Palace in central Delhi's Karol Bagh. Ten others from the family who were staying in the same hotel escaped unhurt as the fire did not engulf the floors they were staying.

While the family could identify Jayashree among 17 bodies spread across four hospitals, the relatives are looking for Vidyasagar and Naliniyamma. While police said no one is trapped inside the hotel, family is now hoping they could locate the two whom they say are missing.

At the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where 13 bodies are kept, officials said five are beyond recognition. Reports also suggested that some of the victims and injured were from Myanmar.

Eye-witnesses said a mother and child jumped from a window to escape the fire but were killed. A man who jumped out of the building survived with head injuries after he fell on a car.

Most of the inmates in the hotel were tourists or people like the family from Kochi came to the capital to attend some family functions.

While the Delhi government has ordered a magisterial enquiry, the incident raises questions about safety standards in budget hotels.

Measures like frequent searches to enforce building codes, fire safety measures and evacuation procedures have not helped in containing such incidents.

Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain said officials have been negligent in enforcing building laws in the surrounding area. "There is a clear case of negligence here," he said adding the hotel had a fifth floor in violation of laws that permit only up to four floors.

A fire official said there was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people could not use corridors to evacuate.

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3 killed in fire were visiting for wedding

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