SIX persons died of burns and another person in an attempt to jump to safety after a fire broke out in a hotel in Gondia city in the early hours of Wednesday. All seven victims were men. Eleven people were rescued by firemen and locals. “The four-storey hotel, Bindal Plaza, situated in the congested main market of the city caught fire around 4 am when most of the guests were in deep sleep. It apparently started on the first floor, which had been rented out to a sale-exhibition. The sale had a collection of many combustible and inflammable materials like resins, leather, clothes, etc, which made the matters worse,” said Gondia Superintendent of Police Dilip Bhujbal.
Watch What Else is Making News
Bhujbal, however, said the exact reason of the fire was yet to be ascertained. Asked if there were any safety lapses on part of the hotel management, Bhujbal said, “It is under investigation but prima facie the exit staircase had been blocked for use by the sale-exhibition organiser and lift was the only way out for the 20-odd guests in the hotel. For now, we have registered a case of accidental deaths but may initiate action against the owner if the safety lapses are finally confirmed by the experts.”
Officials said fire tenders were requisitioned from Balaghat, Lanji and Tumsar.
Some of the guests were rescued from the terrace of an adjoining building. One Ramesh Dikshit (35) from Bilaspur jumped off the second floor and was being taken to Nagpur for treatment but died on the way.
The other six deceased are Premnarayan Sabu (40) of Nagpur, Surendra Deeplal Soni (65) from Mhow, Ravikumar Jain (55) from Indore, Aditya Kurhade (42) from Warora, Abhijeet Patil (40) from Ghogaon in Sangli district, and Pradeep Deshkar (26) from Nagpur.
Soni and Jain were related to the prominent Ajmera family hosting a wedding in the city. The Ajmeras have postponed the marriage. A couple, Amrit Raksiya and Santoshi Raksiya, had checked out around 3.40 am to catch a train, barely 30 minutes before the fire. The police have called them Thursday for a statement. Amrit is a homoeopathy doctor practising at Linga village in Balaghat district.
“They had come here for some treatment and had reservation for a train at 4.20 am,” Bhujbal said. Balaghat is barely 45 km from Gondia and is well connected through a number of bus and train services. The Raksiyas, however, had preferred an early morning passenger train. When contacted, they said they considered themselves lucky to have escaped the tragedy.