Telangana home minister Mohd Mahmood Ali said Tuesday morning that a police case has been filed against the owner of the building in Secunderabad where a fire broke out last night. The fire, which was started by a short circuit in an e-bike showroom, killed eight people and injured seven more after spreading to a hotel on the floor above. The majority of those who died were asphyxiated. According to reports, there were 25 people in the hotel at the time.
“Unfortunately, eight people died and seven are hospitalised, of whom one is critical. Chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced ex-gratia of 3 lakh. A case has been registered,” the minister said.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences and announced a compensation package worth Rs 2 lakh for the families of those killed.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to a fire in Secunderabad, Telangana. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” his office tweeted, also offering ₹50,000 to each of those injured.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand said the fire began in a charging unit on the ground floor. “Smoke overpowered people on the first and second floors. The remaining jumped from the building and were rescued by locals,” quoted a senior official by saying the showroom owners were ‘doing something else in the building’s basement, ‘which should be used for parking. “That is a matter of inquiry,” he added.
Several fires involving electric scooters in recent weeks and months have alarmed the government, which is eager to promote such vehicles in its efforts to reduce pollution.
Preliminary investigations indicate that faulty battery cells and battery modules are the primary causes of the fires, but top city police official Chandana Deepti said, “We don’t know if it (the fire) started because of overcharging and then spread or if it started elsewhere; that is being determined.”
The dealer’s identity and the brand of scooters being sold were not immediately clear.