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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Three staff members of Arpit Palace survived fire by jumping to adjacent terrace

According to employees of Hotel SPB, which is located right behind Hotel Arpit Palace, jumping to their terrace was easier as it was only 15 feet lower than Arpit Palace.

delhi Updated: Feb 14, 2019 14:19 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Fire brigade personnel at work after a massive fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace, Karol Bagh in New Delhi,  on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.
Fire brigade personnel at work after a massive fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace, Karol Bagh in New Delhi, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT Photo )
         

When the fire started at Hotel Arpit Palace on Tuesday morning, at least three of its staff survived by jumping from the roof to the adjacent terrace, but others were not so lucky. The presence of an “unauthorised” rooftop restaurant prevented others from following suit.

Two guests and a chef were forced to jump from the front portion of the hotel’s roof, on to the road five storeys below. Two of them died of the fall while a third was left with critical spinal injuries.

According to employees of Hotel SPB, which is located right behind Hotel Arpit Palace, jumping to their terrace was easier as it was only 15 feet lower than Arpit Palace.

“Three staffers jumped on to our terrace even before fire tenders had arrived. They escaped with minor bruises,” an employee of Hotel SPB said.

But when the fire raged through the corridors of the Hotel Arpit Palace and guests ran upstairs in the hope of finding an escape route, they found themselves boxed in by the rooftop restaurant’s kitchen, which was located along the rear end of the terrace.

“We urged them to jump. We told them it was a shallow jump and they would land safely. But by the time they could muster the courage, the fibre canopy covering the rooftop restaurant also caught fire,” another employee said.

As fate would have it, the burning canopy was at least two feet lower than the fibre sheet covering the rooftop restaurant. The guests were forced to rush to the front portion of the terrace to attempt a jump.

On the left side of Hotel Arpit Palace is a residential building— its terrace was about 30 feet below. But a tin sheet erected along that side of the roof’s balcony killed any scope of escape. Tararam Chand, a chef, did attempt the 30-foot jump, but landed on the road and died.

Meanwhile, local guards and employees of nearby hotels confirmed the fire department’s finding that staffers of Hotel Arpit Palace were unaware of the blaze until at least 4am, an hour after the fire reportedly started.

“I saw smoke from a room on the first floor and heard screams. I ran into the hotel to alert the staffers, but found no one,” Ganesh Kumar, a security guard, said.

Soon, employees of several neighbouring hotels used the stairs and water pipes to attempt rescue of those trapped inside, but their efforts proved futile.

As for the employees of Hotel Metro View, located two buildings away, they were relieved to know that four Afghans who were in Arpit Palace had escaped. “The Afghans had approached us for rooms on Monday evening, but we were full. So, they checked into Hotel Arpit Palace. When they returned to us after being rescued, we were relieved,” an employee of Hotel Metro View said.

First Published: Feb 14, 2019 14:18 IST