Eight people, including one woman, were killed and some 10 others injured in a major fire that broke out in an electric bike showroom in Secunderabad and rapidly spread to a hotel located in the same building late on Monday, 12 September.
All the dead were guests at the hotel, a police official told South First. The injured were taken to Yashoda Hospital and Gandhi Hospital.
Deceased have been identified as the residents of Delhi, Chennai and Vijayawada, police said.
“Five people died in the hotel, while three died in hospital. We cannot confirm why fire broke out, we are registering a case,” ACP Mahankali told South First.
The fire is said to have started in the Ruby Electric Scooters showroom on the ground floor of a four-storey building in Monda Market at about 9.20 pm, and spread to the Ruby Pride Luxury hotel that occupies the three other floors of the building.
No fire escape
About half the rooms of the 23-room hotel were occupied at the time of the incident. Police said the hotel mostly catered to business visitors and tourists from outside the city.
The building only had one entry and exit point and no fire escape, which trapped the guests, some of who were seen climbing out of room windows and sliding down drainpipes. Initial reports suggest that, although the building had a sprinkler system, it failed to function.
The fire department has said they received a call about the fire from hotel employees at around 9.40 pm and sent two fire tenders to the spot which battled the flames and thick smoke for several hours. The firemen were able to rescue some 10 people.
City Police Commissioner CV Anand, who soon arrived at the spot, told reporters that the cause of the fire would be investigated.
Eight killed and at least 10 others injured in a major fire that broke out in an electric bike showroom in #Secunderabad
All the dead were guests in the Ruby hotel above the building pic.twitter.com/joGbVB1bjC
— South First (@TheSouthfirst) September 13, 2022
Fire said to have started in basement
Eyewitness accounts suggest the fire, which began in the basement of the building, engulfed the entire first floor of the building after an explosion and quickly spread up the stairway to the first and second floors.
It also caused thick smoke to billow up towards the upper floors where the hotel is located. Many of those who died did so because of asphyxiation, CV Anand said.
“Because of the smoke, the people suffered suffocation, they fell unconscious. They are believed to have suffered burns in unconscious state. A few people jumped out of windows. The Fire Department rescued 10 people,” a police official told South First
Sources at Yashoda hospital confirmed to South First that most of those who died, did so because of asphyxiation.
While the exact reason for the fire is yet to ascertained, police said the initial suspicion is that it was caused by a short circuit. The fire is then said to have sparked the explosion of either a generator or batteries, causing it to spread quickly.
Ministers visit spot
Home Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali and Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav visited the spot termed it an unfortunate incident and said all the injured were being provided the the best treatment possible.
In viral videos on social media, people can be seen trying to escape the fire by climbing out of the windows in their rooms. Some were also seen sliding down drainpipes.