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Rashmi Ranjan

An Odia couple from Cuttack is among eight who were killed in a fire mishap in an e-bike showroom and the hotel in Secunderabad on Monday night.

The couple has been identified as Chandan Jethi and his wife Mitali Mohapatra Jethi of Kafla Bazaar in Cuttack.

According to sources, the duo went to Hyderabad to attend a training programme. 

Besides, nine others also sustained burn injuries in the mishap which started from an e-bike showroom in the cellar of the five-storied building and spread to the hotel upstairs.

The victims were from various cities in the country and were staying in Ruby Luxury Hotel. 

The other deceased have been identified as Virendra Kumar (50), Rajiv Malik (26) and Sandeep Malik, all from Delhi, Sitharaman (48) and Balaji (58), both from Chennai and Alladi Harish (33), a resident of Vijayawada.

The injured are Rajesh Jagadish (49) from Gujarat, Umesh Kumar (35), a marketing manager from Kolkata, Deepak Yadav (38), quality officer from Haryana, Keshav (27), who hails from Chennai and working as engineer in Mumbai, Debashish Gupta (36) from Kolkata, Santosh (26) and Yogita (26) both from Pendurthi in Andhra Pradesh.

They were all visiting Hyderabad for business or for other personal work.

According to police, the incident occurred around 9.30 pm in the building near the Regional Passport Office. The fire started from the e-bike showroom in the cellar and heavy smoke engulfed the upper floors housing Ruby Luxury Hotel.

Fire fighting personnel pulled out nine persons from the hotel. Some of those staying in the hotel jumped out from windows to save their lives.

Two fire tenders rushed to the scene and doused the flames. Most of the deaths are believed to have been caused by asphyxiation.

Short circuit is believed to have caused the fire, which spread in the showroom. As the batteries of the e-scooters parked there exploded, it further spread the fire. Dense smoke engulfed the upper floors and the guests were trapped in their rooms.

Officials, however, said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Additional Director General (fire services) Sanjay Kumar said the building had permission from municipal authorities for only four floors but the builder constructed an additional floor. Though the cellar was meant for parking, a showroom of electrical vehicles was opened in violation of rules.

The officer said the building had only one entry and exit which resulted in the guests getting trapped. The sprinklers installed in the building did not function which led to the delay in dousing the flames.

The government of Telangana has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh for the families of each of the deceased. Minister for municipal administration K. T. Rama Rao expressed shock over the mishap and conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased.

(With agency inputs)

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