Fire in Delhi hotel kills at least nine, raises questions of safety


Onlookers stand on the rooftop of a building as they look at a hotel where a fire broke out in New Delhi, India, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis




NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A fire swept through a hotel in New Delhi early on Tuesday, killing at least nine people, the fire brigade said, raising fresh questions about safety standards in poorly regulated hotels catering to the less affluent.

A wedding party had booked a large part of the 35-room hotel. Among the dead were a woman and a child who tried to escape by jumping from a window, the Indian Express said. Television showed pictures of broken windows.

Virendra Singh, deputy fire chief, said 35 people had been rescued from the hotel located in the shopping district of Karol Bagh. Most of the victims were sleeping when the fire broke out, believed to have been caused by a short circuit.

Authorities in Delhi have frequently launched raids to enforce building codes, fire safety measures and evacuation procedures but these steps have failed to check rampant violations by builders in a rapidly expanding capital city of more than 18 million people.

Last week, a fire broke out in a hospital in a Delhi suburb, forcing emergency evacuation of patients. Nobody was hurt.

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Michael Perry



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