Lucknow hotel fire: Levana Suites to be demolished after blaze kills four; owners, manager booked
Lucknow hotel fire: The massive blaze at Lucknow's Levana Suites on Monday left four people dead, while at least 10 others were hospitalised with burn injuries. The hotel, located at Madan Mohan Malviya Marg in the city's commercial center Hazratganj, will now be demolished after following "due process".
Meanwhile, the police have detained two owners of the hotel and its general manager for questioning.
Vice-chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority Indramani Tripathi said the sealing of the hotel will begin early on Tuesday morning.
Officials said it took more than six hours to douse the blaze while the rescue teams kept looking out for more people trapped inside the building.
The deceased included two women, the officials said.
Initially, 10 people were rushed to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee civil hospital. Of these, two were declared dead and seven are undergoing treatment.
One of the injured was released, they said, adding that two more people were later rushed to the hospital and were declared dead.
"Two more people who were found in a serious condition during room to room search of the hotel were rushed to the civil hospital. They were declared brought dead by doctors," Joint Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Piyush Mordia said.
"The deceased have been identified as Gurnoor Singh Anand (28), a resident of Naka Hindola (Lucknow), Sahiba Kaur alias Jaspreet (26), a resident of Ganeshganj (Lucknow), Shravika Singh (30), a resident of Indiranagar (Lucknow) and Aman Ghazi alias Bobby (35), a resident of Khurramnagar (Lucknow)," the Lucknow district administration said in a statement.
Joint Commissioner of Police Piyush Mordia said, "A case has been registered against owners Rahul Agarwal, Rohit Agarwal, Pawan Agarwal and Sagar Srivastava, the general manager of the hotel under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide)."
Lucknow hotel fire: What eyewitnesses say
Ujjawal, who was staying on the second floor of the hotel, said the fire broke out at around 7 am and he saw smoke in his room.
"When I came out, I along with others tried to get out, but thick smoke engulfed the entire floor. I could not see anything due to the smoke. Then we reached the third floor and broke a window to come out and were rescued," he said.
Another guest on the same floor said there were no fire fighting arrangements in the hotel due to which they got trapped.
The fire, which led to panic in the area, engulfed the entire hotel within minutes, eyewitnesses said. Crowds gathered as evacuation efforts got underway. Fire teams had a tough time dousing the flames after breaking glass panes.
The rescue teams used bulldozers to break a wall on the first floor to help in the firefighting. Both NDRF and SDRF teams were also pressed for the rescue operation, the officials said.
"Of the 30 rooms in the building, 18 were occupied at the time of the incident. Around 14-15 persons were rescued by the police and fire personnel," District Magistrate Suryapal Gangwar told reporters.
He said the fire could have been caused by a short circuit and the exact cause is being ascertained. "The hotel owner told us that there is a banquet on the first floor where something happened," Gangwar said.
The hotel also has a rooftop bar, visitors said.
The injured included fireman Chandresh Yadav, who sustained burn injuries while rescuing people.
Shyam, a caretaker of a nearby building, said he was the first to see the smoke emanating out of the hotel and informed the fire brigade team. "I broke several window panes and reached up with the help of iron angels and saved a few people with the help of others," he said.
Lucknow Divisional Commissioner Roshan Jacob said that the zonal officer had on May 7 sent a notice to the hotel, to which they replied on May 12, and presented the renewal (certificate) of the fire NOC (no objection certificate) from 2021 to 2024.
"Prima facie, despite the lack of fire escape management system, and iron grilles on the facade, how fire NOC was given is a matter of investigation," said Jacob, who is also the chairman of Lucknow Development Authority (LDA).
"The owners did not provide any map of the building approved as a hotel to the LDA. A notice was issued by the zonal officer on May 26, and another on August 28 as no reply was given. In this regard, the hotel be immediately sealed as per law and then be demolished," Jacob said in an order.
Effective disciplinary action should be ensured against the officials who were involved in making the hotel functional without its map being passed, she said, adding effective implementation of similar notices sent to other hotels should be done.
"And if the hotel owners do not furnish any reply despite the notices, those hotels will be sealed," the divisional commissioner said.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the injured in the hospital and enquired about their health. He also ordered a joint probe by the commissioner, Lucknow division, and police commissioner of Lucknow into the incident.
Lucknow Police Commissioner SB Shiradkar said a forensic audit of the hotel building will be done.
(With inputs from PTI)
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