Hyderabad: At least seven people, including a woman, succumbed to injuries suffered in a fire on the fourth floor of Ruby Pride Luxury Hotel near the regional passport office in Secunderabad late Monday. Nine persons suffered critical burns and more than 25 people were rescued.
The fire was suspected to have been caused by a blast of an electric scooter parked in the basement, which was used as a godown by the automotive dealer operating from the ground floor.
City police commissioner C.V. Anand said that seven were dead and several others injured in the mishap. At least two people died on the spot when they jumped from the hotel rooms. Four fire tenders were pressed into service and the brigade had ventured into the hotel with oxygen masks.
Many more continued to be trapped inside the building at the time of the report, with the number of casualties expected to increase. With the entire four-storey building engulfed in smoke, people panicked and started jumping from the windows.
“Around 9.30 pm, I was having tea at stall beside the building. I smelt some electric wire burning and rushed with others into the basement of the building. Upon seeing that an electric vehicle caught fire, I asked the hotel employee to get a fire extinguisher. He rushed upstairs and came back with one, but it was too late as other EV vehicles and subsequently, an electric circuit caught fire, which spread rapidly,” said Mohammed Ashraf, an auto driver resident of Chandrayangutta said.
The owner of Yatri Inn, located in the vicinity, said that the vehicles belonged to Gemo Pai EV Motors.
An eyewitness said, “I heard the shouts of a woman and a child crying for help from the third floor but due to the smoke we couldn’t find the kid.”
Fire director Sanjay Kumar Jain and senior police officials from the north zone task force’s special branch rushed to the spot.
“On seeing the fire, I first alerted the 108 helpline and then rushed inside along with my friend, Ayub. We rescued seven persons when 12 ambulances arrived at the scene,” the onlooker, identified as Srikanth, said.
“It was a great task for me and the firefighters. I tied a towel. Still, I was not able to breathe and my eyes are burning. I have never seen such a tragedy in my life,” he said.
Three of the deceased were identified as Harish, Sitaram and Verandam, while the others are yet to be identified. The police shifted the three bodies to a hospital for autopsies.