Indore: Six people had a narrow escape on Monday morning, when a major fire engulfed a five-storied hotel in posh residential area of Scheme Number 74-C creating panic among residents.
The fire broke out in the basement of hotel Golden Gate that houses two restaurants and around 25 rooms. The entire hotel was charred, additional SP (East) Shailendra Singh Chouhan told reporters. “The cause of fire was yet to be ascertained. No casualty was reported,” he said.
The Golden Gate hotel is situated adjacent to a residential-cum-commercial building, which was evacuated soon after the fire broke out. Six rooms were occupied by guests when the fire started at around 7.45am.
Hotel staff rushed to safety as flames grew. A hotel guest, Mumbai-based businessman Deepak Punjabi, panicked and rushed to the roof, attempting to jump off the building. He was saved by onlookers by placing a ladder from the adjoining building.
Five other guests, staying in rooms on lower floors, were informed by the hotel staff about the fire and ushered out of the hotel through the rear gates.
Fire brigade, which reached the spot two hours after the fire started, used around 50 water tankers to gain control over the blaze. Firemen, with scanty firefighting equipment, battled the flames for four hours – the hotel was completely destroyed. Police and firemen estimate a loss of Rs 6-8 crore.
Vijay Nagar police station in charge Tehzeeb Qazi told TOI that the police and fire brigade reached the spot immediately after the information was received. “We got the call when the fire grew out of control and people apparently heard loud noises,” he said.
Police were in the process of investigating the cause of the loud noises that resembled explosions.
Hotel owner CS Singh refused to comment on the incident.
As the firemen pumped water into the blazing building, fire spread to the nearby residential apartment, but students of a coaching class joined hands with security guards to douse the flames.
Four persons, including the Mumbai-based businessman, were taken to a nearby hospital and discharged after first-aid.
It hardly took half an hour for the fire to engulf the entire building creating panic among passersby, and residents who were forced to came out of their homes after they heard a loud noise speculating it to be a gas cylinder explosion.
“I heard a loud noise and came out to see huge flames coming out of entrance of Bocca Buona restaurant,” said Sanjay, a security staff of a nearby shop.
The information about the incident went viral on social media even before arrival of emergency response teams. The hotel owner and his family members were seen crying and consoling each.
Power supply as well as gas supply in the entire area was snapped. A state disaster relief force (SDRF) team was also pressed into service to bring situation under control.
“It took us around four hours to bring the situation under control,” said an official with fire department.
Traffic movement in the entire area also came to a standstill with people parking or stopping by to catch a glimpse of the burning hotel, and the situation became normal only after 2.00pm.
Women living in a complex beside hotel alleged police inaction against commercial activities happening 24*7 in residential area. Kazi however, denied receiving any such complaint from anyone in the area.