Casualties feared in Patna hotel blaze

Patna, April 25 (UNI) Unconfirmed eyewitness accounts suggest at least two dead in a massive fire at a hotel on the busiest area near Patna junction on Thursday.

The inferno did not just engulf the entire hotel building but also a few adjoining commercial buildings along with it.

Fire Brigade Director General Shobha Ahotkar said that eight fire tenders were continuously operating to douse the flames that broke out at the Pal hotel in the Bihar capital at 11 am.

The DG said that more than 50 fire brigade personnel were pressed into service to douse the flames. They were checking each and every floor of the hotel for anyone stranded.

Fire personnel faced a tough time as the area was congested and several commercial units were in close proximity to the Pal Hotel building, she said.

The entire area was cordoned off to carry out the rescue operation and control the fire. She said that people residing in the adjoining buildings have also been evacuated as precautionary measures.

Two hydraulic lifts were also pressed into service to rescue all those standard inside the hotel, Ahotkar said, adding that some 45 people were rescued by 1.30 pm.

She, however did not confirm the casualties and informed that three people were referred to the Patna Medical College Hospital. An eye witness at the spot claimed that two people died in the inferno.

Prima facie a short circuit appears to be the reason, she said, however adding, the exact cause would be known only after proper assessment and investigation.

Another eye witness who managed to escape from the spot said that the fire broke out at the exit point of the restaurant of Pal hotel where a worker lit the flame near the gate which led to the massive inferno.

Several vehicles parked in the area were also completely charred.

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