8 dead as electric bike showroom catches fire in Indian city


HYDERABAD — At least eight people died and several others sustained injuries after a massive fire broke out at an electric scooter showroom in the Indian city of Secunderabad late Monday night.

The fire quickly spread to a hotel on the upper floors of the multi-story building where at least 25 guests were staying.

Secunderabad is an industrial hub in the southern Telangana state, of which Hyderabad is the capital.

Officials said the fire broke out at the electric scooter showroom on the ground floor of the building, and soon spread upwards to Hotel Ruby Pride.

All the eight people seemed to have died because of asphyxiation caused by the smoke, they added.

“The smoke traversed through the staircase from the bottom up to the top floor. Some people who were sleeping in the first and second floors came to the corridor through the thick smoke and died due to asphyxiation,” said CV Anand, Police Commissioner of Hyderabad.

The Fire Department rescued several people using crane ladders, while a few locals also joined in and helped in the rescue operations, officials said. Videos also show some people jumping out from the hotel windows in a bid to escape.

The injured have been shifted to various hospitals of the city for treatment and the fire has been brought under control, Anand said.

He said they were investigating if the fire was caused due to overcharging of batteries at the electric scooter showroom or in the cellar — where a lot of electric bikes were parked.

“We don’t know if the fire started because of overcharging and then spread or whether it started elsewhere. That is still being established,” Chandana Deepti, deputy commissioner, Hyderabad was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Officials said the water sprinkler system in the building did not work when the fire broke out – which is now being investigated.

Telangana Home Minister Mohammad Mehmood Ali condoled the loss of lives and said a probe has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.

“Fire brigade teams tried their best to rescue people from the lodge but due to heavy smoke, some people died. We are probing how the incident happened and a case has been registered,” he said. — Agencies

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