Police: Short circuit likely caused deadly India hotel fire

Police say a fire at a budget hotel in India's capital that killed 17 people was likely caused by a short circuit.

New Delhi Police Commissioner Amit Sharma said Wednesday that no foul play is suspected in the fire Tuesday that also left four people injured.

The Delhi government minister of health and urban development, Satyendar Kumar Jain, says most of the deaths at the Arpit Palace Hotel in Karol Bagh in central New Delhi were caused by suffocation.

The hotel developer had a permit from the fire department to build up to four stories. But the building appeared to have six floors, including an unauthorized kitchen Jain said was built from sheets of fiberglass on top of the roof.

17 killed in fire at New Delhi hotel, 4 others hurt

Seventeen people died in a fire early Tuesday at a hotel in western New Delhi that left at least four others injured, police said.

Photos: AP

The fire at the Arpit Palace Hotel has been extinguished, but authorities are still investigating what sparked it, Deputy Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

“We have to check the stability of the structure, check every room,” Randhawa said.

The hotel is located in Karol Bagh, an area in India’s capital city full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists.

Twenty-five fire engines responded to the blaze, which had engulfed all but the ground floor of the five-story hotel, fire officer Vijay Paul said.

About three dozen people were rescued from the hotel, Paul said.

Among those rescued was Sivanand Chand, 43, a hotel guest who was jolted awake around 4 a.m., struggling to breathe.

“When I got out of my room, I could hear ‘help, help!’ from adjoining rooms,” Chand told The Associated Press, adding that he opened the window and saw flames rising very fast.

“In 15 minutes, the whole room was black,” he said.

The rescue took about 30 minutes because fire engine ladders could not initially reach Chand’s floor, he said.

The injured were taken to local hospitals, but their medical conditions were not immediately known.

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