Delhi govt orders magisterial probe into Karol Bagh hotel fire

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

Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons said the emergency exits at the hotel were problematic.

The blaze was extinguished in the early hours with the help of at least 25 fire engines, with the top floors being gutted.

The Delhi government has, meanwhile, ordered a magisterial probe into the Karol Bagh fire incident, said Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

The fire broke out at the Hotel Arpit Palace in a congested part of central Delhi, with images showing it engulfing the entire top floor.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the Delhi Hotel Association Balan Mani told ANI that all fire norms were maintained in the hotel.

The officer said that the cause of fire was yet to be investigated.

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Frequent raids by civic authorities to enforce building codes, fire safety measures and evacuation procedures in New Delhi have failed to curb violations in this rapidly expanding city of more than 18 million people. Most people jumped out of the upper floors of the hotel to save their lives.

Jain said hotel guests tried to flee through the hotel's narrow corridors, panelled in wood.

Rao was staying at the hotel located at Karol Bagh.

But the city is rapidly growing - with more than 18 million people now crowded into the Indian capital - and building violations are nearly impossible to stop.

Fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations.

Meanwhile, the fire has been doused and bodies of the people are being taken out now from the hospital.

Also, an eye-witness said:"Within minutes the fire accompanied by dense smoke engulfed the whole hotel, leaving nearly no space for the occupants to rush to safety".

  • Sonia Alvarado