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Pratapgarh restaurant fire kills 10, destroys hotel


Preliminary reports say the source was a short circuit. The property did not have its NOC & fire fighting equipment. 

An early morning blaze supposedly started in a restaurant, turned the Goyal Residency hotel in the main city area of Pratapgarh, UP into a “virtual gas chamber”, leaving 10 persons, including two women, dead and more than a dozen injured. Barring one person identified as a staff of the hotel, all the other victims were guests.

The police had identified seven of the bodies when the last reports came in. They had also detained owner of the hotel, Sunil Goyal, for questioning.

“An FIR for culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against the hotel management. Hotel manager, Lokesh Pant, allegedly fled soon after fire broke out early in the morning,” Additional Superintendent of Police (East), Akhileshwar Pandey, said, adding they were yet to begin the probe into the technical aspects of the matter.

Preliminary reports say the fire’s source was a short circuit in the restaurant. State IG (Crime) R.K. Swarnkar told reporters here that the fire was caused by a short circuit at around 4.30 am in Spice Valley, the restaurant on the ground floor.


Image: The Hindu/PTI

Meanwhile, the fire department officials confirmed that the four-storey hotel did not have any No Objection Certificate (NOC) from them. Also, there were not enough fire extinguishers in the building. As per the police and the fire department, they got calls around 4.50 am about fire having broken out in the hotel in Babaganj locality, in the heart of the city.

“The fire broke out in the basement and soon engulfed the Spice Valley restaurant on the ground floor. Soon, toxic fumes engulfed the entire hotel, including the guest rooms on the top two floors. Most of the guests were sleeping, and responded late,” said Circle Officer (City), M P Salonia. Prima facie the cause of fire appeared to be short circuit, he said. Nearly, two dozen people, including staff, were present in the hotel at the time. Firemen had to break glass panelling at the front to rescue the trapped people. However, by the time help reached, 10 had died. Seven of the injured were referred to Allahabad.

Fire Station Officer (City) A A Hussain said: “The hotel didn’t have a regular NOC. When they started operations, they were granted a provisional NOC, which was cancelled a year later after hotel failed on basic parameters. Despite reminders, they did not pay heed”. Hussain said the last inspection of the hotel was carried out a couple of months ago and the hotel owner had assured that requisite changes will be made.

Source: Indian Express/Agencies

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