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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Delhi hotel fire: Most victims of Arpit Palace had checked in a day before

Of the 48 rooms at Karol Bagh’s Arpit Palace hotel where a fire killed 17 people on Tuesdy, 45 were available for visitors while the rest were offices. Many guests had checked in Monday.

delhi Updated: Feb 13, 2019 09:12 IST
Anvit Srivastava and Shiv Sunny
Anvit Srivastava and Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Survivors wait outside the Arpit Palace hotel in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh after a massive fire broke out at the hotel on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.
Survivors wait outside the Arpit Palace hotel in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh after a massive fire broke out at the hotel on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT Photo)
         

For many, a hotel in a big city would be a pit stop in their journey. But for 52-year-old Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Suresh Kumar, Hotel Arpit Palace was practically his home for four months.

Posted in central Delhi’s Jhandewalan as assistant commissioner in the income tax department, Kumar would routinely shuttle between work and hotel, instead of getting a more permanent accommodation.

“He hailed from Panchkula in Haryana and his wife works in Himachal Pradesh,” said relative of Kumar who did not wish to be identified. “He either wanted a transfer to Panchkula or wanted his wife to move to Delhi with him. Since he was in a position of uncertainty, he had been staying at the hotel for the last four months.”

On Tuesday, as the flames climbed the hotel floors, in an attempt to save himself, Kumar jumped from the fourth floor.

By evening, he was among the 15 who the authorities could positively identify among the 17 killed in the incident. The identity of a man and another person whose gender could not be ascertained, is yet to be established.

Three tourists from Myanmar, three of a family from Kerala, two doctors, a lawyer from Gujarat and an engineer with a petroleum company were among the 17 people killed in the fire.

Of the hotel’s 48 rooms, 45 were available for visitors while the rest were offices. Many guests had checked in Monday.

Eighty-four-year old Nalini Amma, her daughter Jayashree (53) and son Vidyasagar (59) were among the 13 members of a family from Kerala who had checked in after attending a wedding in Ghaziabad. The rooms were booked only for the night and they expected to check out by around 6am.

Rabia Jusafbhai, a 52-year-old advocate working for the Gujarat State Electricity Board in Ahmedabad too had checked in on Monday night with a colleague. “They were to appear at Supreme Court on Tuesday,” said a relative who did not identify himself.

Pranav Kumar Bhaskar, a 33-year-old engineer with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in Hyderabad was to attend a function in Greater Noida.

“On Tuesday, he was to attend the Petrotech 2019 that was recently inaugurated by the PM,” said Bhaskar’s relative, Ashok Kumar Singhal.

Eight tourists from Myanmar occupied four rooms.

“Htumhla Sein, a 32-year-old photographer, was hired by the other seven people just to capture memories throughout the trip,” said Gyandeep, a tour operator assisting them.

Sein and two others from the group Mya Mya Htwe, 45, and Dawhla May, 67, were killed in the blaze while a fourth woman, 28-year-old Chain Maya Nyan, suffered a spinal injury after she threw herself from a fourth floor window. She is currently admitted in Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital and her condition is critical.

Another deceased is 30-year-old Tara Chand, a chef at the hotel for the past two years. He too jumped from the rooftop to save himself.

The other dead people identified are doctors Shankar Narayan Sheshadri (52) and Santosh Mahadev (35), and three others, Aravinth Sukumaran (35), Chalpatirao EVS (50), and Nand Kumar (34).

An NRI, a native of Kerala, said he saved himself by jumping off from the first floor.