Lucknow hotel fire: Five dead as blaze guts two Lucknow hotels, owners booked
Lucknow : Five persons, including a woman and child, were killed and over a dozen others injured as fire engulfed two hotels here on Tuesday, police said. The fire broke out at the SSJ International Hotel on Tuesday morning and soon spread to the adjacent Hotel Virat International, gutting both buildings.
Fire tenders were rushed to contain the blaze, but it took more than two hours for the raging flames to be extinguished and at least six firemen were among those injured. Two cars parked in the parking area of one of the hotels were also burnt badly.
Senior Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar said the fire started in the basement and soon leaped to the upper floors. Inspector General of Police, Lucknow, Sujit Pandey later said that prima facie, the fire seems to have been triggered by a short circuit.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a magisterial probe into the blaze, while cases have also been slapped on the owners of the hotels.
Superintendent of Police, West, Vikas Chandra Tripathi said that after the incident, both SSJ International hotel owner Surendra Jaiswal and Virat hotel owners Arpit Jaiswal and Pratik Jaiswal were absconding.
The district police has ordered a safety audit of all the hotels in the area and sources told IANS that initial investigation has revealed a "whole lot of discrepancies in the two hotels".
The SSJ hotel, which had 42 rooms and a bar, does not have an approved building plan and the 27-room Virat hotel's building plan was approved as a residential premises, officials said.
Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer A.B. Pandey revealed that there were no fire-fighting equipment installed in both hotels and that SSJ hotel, in fact, had been served a notice last month over its non-compliance of safety standards.
Due to the police recruitment exams, both the hotels were completely sold out.
Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi meanwhile visited the injured at a medical facility and directed officials to ensure that there was adequate treatment for those injured.
Condition of two injured, who have received serious burn injuries, is critical, said doctors at the Trauma Centre.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed his condolences at the loss of lives in the incident and has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those who were killed and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured.