Seventeen die in Delhi hotel fire

At least 17 people, including a child, have died in a fire that broke out early Tuesday morning in a hotel in India’s capital, Delhi, police said.

A video of the incident shows people jumping from the fourth floor after breaking open window panes.

Officials said 35 people were rescued. Some of them who were injured have been taken to hospital.

Hotel Arpit Palace is located in Karol Bagh, an area popular with tourists for its budget hotels and shopping.

“There was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people couldn’t use the corridors to leave the hotel,” Vipin Kenta, a fireman, told the Hindustan Times newspaper. He added that at least two people jumped out of the building.

He said they were still investigating what caused the fire. Local media reported that most of the deaths were caused by suffocation.

Fire accidents are not uncommon in Indian cities where builders often flout safety regulations.

Many structures, both old and new, do not have proper fire exits. In recent months, officials have shut down a number of shops and restaurants in some of Delhi’s most exclusive neighbourhoods for not following fire safety measures.

Owners of commercial buildings have also been known to construct additional floors without the necessary permissions.

Even in the case of Arpit Palace Hotel, Delhi minister Satyendra Jain told the NDTV news website that the hotel had built a fifth floor with a kitchen and a terrace, even though the owners only had permission to build four storeys.

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