The cables to trust…

At least 2 people were killed and many injured early on last Thursday when a fire broke out at a hotel in south Kolkata, triggering memories of the December 2011 AMRI Hospital blaze that killed more than 90.

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A deadly cocktail of toxic gases lurked up the shaft of the hotel in the dead of night and smothered two to death.

The toll could have been much higher but for the prompt response of firemen who rescued 30 guests. Five boarders and a hotel employee sustained injuries.

The hotel’s co-owner and an executive were later arrested and slapped with nonbailable charges. Chamar Kishan (52) and Anup Aggarwal (53), who choked to death in their fourth-floor rooms, were employees of Tata Steel and were in the city to attend a meeting.

They, and several other colleagues, had put up at Hotel Golden Parkk on Ho Chi Minh Sarani, a heavily fortified street where both the British deputy high commission and American consulate are located; the hotel is just behind Tata Centre, the company head office.

The nature and circumstances of the deaths -asphyxiation and carbon-monoxide poisoning from fumes spreading through AC ducts -raked up memories of the AMRI Hospital fire in December 2011, in which 92 people, most of them patients, died after a fire broke out in the basement.

On Thursday, it was a short circuit in the ground floor of Hotel Golden Parkk that generated thick black smoke. The killer fumes then drifted up the AC ducts and entered the rooms of guests occupying the floors above. A malfunctioning smoke detector and alarm resulted in the occupants not having time to flee till the smoke had built up. One of the victims, jumped off the fourth floor on to the asbestos roof of a room below and plunged right through, sustaining serious injuries; three others slid down a sewer pipe. Others were rescued by fire brigade personnel. A hotel staffer said the short circuit happened outside the kitchen on the ground floor. Fire experts said the absence of dampers in the AC ducts allowed the smoke to spread just as it had in the hospital fire six years ago.

Source – TOI

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