Karol Bagh fire: Emergency exit of hotel locked, says Union minister

12 Feb 2019

Union minister K J Alphons today said the emergency exit of the Arpit Palace hotel, where 17 people were killed in a fire that broke out early today, was "too narrow" and also locked.
Alphons, who visited the site of the tragedy in central Delhi's Karol Bagh locality, said he was sure that there would be violation of norms. The Union tourism minister said there were a lot of wooden structures inside, which may have helped the fire spread. "When I headed to the emergency exit, I found that it had been locked yesterday (last night). Also, it was too narrow," he told newspersons. "Obviously, even if people came to the emergency exit, they could not have escaped as it was too narrow and it was locked anyway," he said. Alphons said he spoke to the mayor and asked him to check whether all regulations were in place and to take immediate action if there was any lapse on the part of the hotel management.
Meanwhile, a person named Somshekhar is suspecting that one of his family members is among those 17 ill-fated people who lost their lives in the tragedy. They were ready to leave for Haridwar but suddenly the power went out. Before Somshekhar and his family could understand what had happened, plumes of thick smoke running through their floor at Arpit Palace Hotel made them suspicious. A foul smell created fear. Soon, they realised the planned visit to Haridwar was in jeopardy. Other than Somshekhar, 11 members of his family were staying at the hotel in central Delhi where a massive fire killed 17 people, including a child. He said three members of his family are missing since the fire broke out on the second floor, the floor on which they had booked rooms, at around 3.30am. He suspects the child dead in the accident was his younger sister.
The family had come from Ernakulam district in Kerala to attend a wedding in Ghaziabad, which comprises the National Capital Territory of Delhi. "We have come to attend the wedding of a relative in Ghaziabad. We were planning to go to Haridwar today," he said. "We were all ready early morning when there was a sudden power cut. They switched on the generator and there was heavy smoke and smell. My sister, who is missing, first spotted the smoke and informed us. "The entire pathway was full of smoke and smell," Somshekhar said.
His mother and brother were with his sister that time and Somshekhar had rushed to his room to open the windows to allow the smoke to pass and to find a possible exit route. "Yesterday, we went to Vrindawan and returned late last night. Today, we had to go to Haridwar. We had also planned to visit Amritsar and leave for Kerala on 15th," he said. Somshekhar said he has no knowledge what started the fire. But, he stressed, he believes negligence on part of the hotel management must have triggered the tragedy. (PTI)