Eight people died in Telangana secunderabad on Monday night after a fire broke out in the charging unit of an e-bike showroom and spread to a hotel above, ANI reported. At least 13 people were injured in the fire.
Police said several people in the hotel lost consciousness due to smoke emanating from the charging unit. At least five people were charred while unconscious, authorities said.
The fire started from the Ruby Motors showroom in the Monda Market area of Secunderabad and then spread to the Ruby Pride Hotel.
Chief Police Officer SK Jain said The Indian Express that two of the deceased are from Chennai, while one is from Delhi and another from Vijayawada. Authorities have yet to identify the rest of the victims.
The building was not fully compliant with fire safety standards, Jain said. Moreover, it turned out to be 17.5 meters high, despite permission to build up to 15 meters.
“The basement is for parking,” Jain added. “Here, it was used to store electric bicycles. We don’t know yet if they were charged from here. The cellar staircase carried smoke throughout the building. When the elevator stopped and smoke spread, people didn’t know how to get out. There are no other outputs available.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Zone) Chandana Deepthi said 22 people were staying at the hotel when the accident happened.
“The injured were transferred to different hospitals,” she said. “Some of the people who tried to escape the fire jumped out of the windows and were injured in the process.”
Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand said authorities suspected an electric bicycle or generator had exploded and started the fire. “The flames leaped up the stairs and quickly engulfed the basement, ground floor, first and second floors of the building,” he said. “More than the fire, it was the smoke that was suffocating the tourists.”
Five fire engines were dispatched to the scene after receiving information about the incident. “We were able to save 10 people who were caught in hotel rooms, while others jumped out of the hotel to save themselves,” said fire officer Mohan Rao.
The police registered a case against the owners of the building and showroom under Sections 304 (causing death by negligence) and 324 (willfully causing injury by weapons or dangerous means) of the Indian Penal Code, reported The Indian Express.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday he was saddened by the loss of life and offered his condolences to the families of those who died. He announced that Rs 2 lakh each would be paid from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to relatives of the deceased, while Rs 50,000 each would be paid to those who suffered injuries.
Telangana Minister of Municipal Administration KT Rama Rao also expressed his condolences for the loss of life and said that the state government will offer Rs 3 lakh ex gratia to the families of the deceased.