Delhi health minister Satyendra Kumar Jain has declared the blaze at Hotel Arpit Palace as a case of negligence, saying that the hotel had flouted rules by being allowed to build six floors instead of the six constructed.
Thirteen people were brought dead to Dr. Ram Manihar Lohia Hospital, while four others were taken to two other hospitals. There were 53 people in the 45-room hotel, officials said.
Police said they were investigating the cause, and a judicial probe has been ordered into the latest disaster to raise concerns over fire safety in India.
Also, an eye-witness said:"Within minutes the fire accompanied by dense smoke engulfed the whole hotel, leaving nearly no space for the occupants to rush to safety".
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. "The status of the staff who jumped is yet to be known".
"In 15 minutes, the whole room was black", he said.
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The death toll rose to 17 from a fire that tore through a hotel in New Delhi on Tuesday, a senior official said.
Guests at the hotel, popular with budget and business travellers, were unable to use corridors to escape because of wooden panelling, according to a fire officer. All norms were followed here.
"A licence is issued only after inspection". "Mishappening can occur in a house as well", he added.
The fire-fighting operation carried by more than 100 personnel of Delhi's fire department lasted around four hours.
In December, eight people were killed when a fire engulfed a hospital in Mumbai. No casualty was reported in the incident, PTI reported.