Fire in Indian e-scooter showroom kills eight

Blaze broke out on building's ground floor and spread to hotel on upper storeys

Burnt-out scooters in the showroom in Secunderabad after the fire on Tuesday. Reuters
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A huge fire killed eight people and trapped at least 25 in a commercial building in India’s southern city of Secunderabad on Tuesday morning.

The blaze broke out inside an electric scooter showroom on the building's ground floor before quickly spreading to a hotel on the upper floors, in the state of Telangana.

Thick smoke engulfed the building as some were killed by asphyxiation, police said.

The building had just one exit, hindering evacuation. Its firefighting system was also defunct.

Police used crane ladders to rescue those trapped as others jumped out of windows to save themselves.

Some residents from the area joined the rescue operation.

“It appears there are 23 rooms in all the four floors in the hotel. The smoke traversed through the staircase from the bottom up to the top floor,” Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand told a local news channel.

“Some people who were sleeping on the first and second floors came to the corridor through the thick smoke and died due to asphyxiation.”

Charges of negligence

Videos shown on television channels showed people trying to jump out from the hotel windows to escape the fire.

A case has been filed against the owners of the building and the showroom.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The Indian government has initiated an inquiry into the incident, while the state government has announced compensation of 300,000 rupees ($3,772) for the families of the victims.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced additional compensation of 200,000 rupees for the families of those killed, and 50,000 rupees for the injured.

Deadly fires are common in India, which has a poor record in fire safety. Experts say the implementation of laws is lax or at times completely disregarded.

At least 27 people were killed after a fire broke out in a five-storey business complex in western Delhi, in May.

More than 70 people were injured in the blaze after they became trapped in the building, which had a single exit and a fixed glass facade.

Updated: September 13, 2022, 7:45 AM
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