Written by Ananya Tiwari
A fire broke out on the second floor of Hotel Piccadily in Janakpuri West. The blaze, which started in the laundry room, was contained before it spread to other floors, officials said.
The hotel, situated a stone’s throw away from Janakpuri West Metro station, belongs to the Piccadily group of companies. It is owned by ex-Congress veteran Venod Sharma (71), whose son Manu Sharma was convicted and is serving life imprisonment for the murder of Jessica Lal in 1999. SHO Suresh Kumar said that the hotel is owned by Venod Sharma “through some partnership.”
The Janakpuri West fire station received a call from the hotel at 6.44 am, and reached the spot a few minutes later with seven tenders and a sky lift. They contained the fire by 7 am, but the blaze had consumed the entire room by then.
The SHO of Janakpuri police station Suresh Kumar said: “The fire was caused by a short circuit and it was contained. It was an ordinary fire.”
ADO Satpal Singh Bharadwaj, who was present at the site, said, “The fire was probably caused by a short circuit, but some maintenance work was also underway on the floor below. Everything was damaged in the room, we cannot confirm anything.”
According to fire officials, the false ceiling in the laundry room, which also served as a locker room for hotel management employees and was filled with clothes, caught fire. Smoke engulfed the entire floor, which was unoccupied at the time, and spread to the staircase.
ADO Bharadwaj, who confirmed that an NOC had been issued to the hotel a year ago, said: “Smoke detectors were switched off… else there would not have been smoke as the ventilation system works once it goes off. It had to be manually switched on after the fire was contained. No fire alarm went off; we went to the floor above to inform the guests of what had happened.”
According to the 2016 building bylaws for Delhi — which were updated by the Delhi government after the fire at Hotel Arpit Palace that claimed 17 lives in February — it is mandatory for hotels and guesthouses to have an auto detection fire system. Smoke detectors are mandatory on corridors and staircases. It is also mandatory for devices such as fire alarms and smoke detectors to be functioning automatically and not manually, with alternative power supply, such as electric generators, readily available if necessary.
Hotel authorities, when asked about the incident, denied any fire had broken out. Hotel manager Kulwinder claimed: “There has been no fire here.”
(Ananya Tiwari is an intern with The Indian Express)