A fire swept through a hotel in New Delhi early on Tuesday, killing 17 people, authorities in the Indian capital said, raising fresh questions about safety standards in poorly regulated budget hotels. Over 30 people were rescued by firefighters, who managed to contain the blaze after several hours.
At least 35 others were rescued from the six-storeyed building, while three jumped off the upper floors of the hotel in Karol Bagh to save their lives.
Mandeep Singh Randhawa, deputy police commissioner, said authorities are still investigating what sparked the fire.
It was not immediately clear how many guests and staff were inside the hotel, which had 43 guest rooms, according to its website.
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While numerous victims were charred to death or suffocated in the poisonous fumes, at least three people were killed when they reportedly jumped off the building in desperate attempts to escape the blaze.
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Most of the dead died from suffocation but some were killed when they tried to jump from windows, NDTV reported.
At least 22 fire engines were scrambled to tackle the blaze at the hotel.
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He said that the fire broke out on the first floor and within minutes it spread up to the third and fourth floors of the hotel, as the staircase and corridors were made of wood.
Delhi's urban development minister Satyendar Jain said authorities appeared to have been negligent in enforcing building laws in the surrounding area.
More than 20 fire crews were dispatched to the scene, officials said.
Karol Bagh, filled with shops and budget hotels, is popular with tourists.
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