Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nine jump to death as fire engulfs carlton tower

Nine jump to death as fire engulfs carlton tower

Express News Service
First Published : 24 Feb 2010 04:15:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 24 Feb 2010 07:04:57 AM IST

BANGALORE: Nine people, including three women, were killed on Tuesday evening when a major fire broke out at the seven- storied Carlton Towers — home to 50 offices and four hotels — at the upscale Indiranagar area of the city. At least 68 people are injured, 19 of them critically, say officials.

All the nine casualties were those, who in a state of panic, jumped from the upper floors of the building, say sources at the Manipal Hospital, where seven were brought dead and two succumbed to injuries.

P S Sandhu, IGP Fire and Emergency Services said, “The electrical duct at the centre of the tower is suspected to have caught fire with the smoke spreading from the opening of every floor. However, the smoke was thick on the fifth and the sixth floors.” Fifteen fire tenders were rushed to the spot when the first distress call was made shortly after 5 pm. However, it took about 30 minutes for the first of the fire engines to reach the site negotiating the peak evening traffic. Fire personnel said that a huge crowd had gathered around the building delaying a swift evacuation operation.

Officials say safety measures were in place but people did not know where the fire exits were. Director, Fire and Emergency, B G Chengappa said: “Everybody was accustomed to using the elevator. They did not even know fire exits were in place.” There are also unconfirmed reports of fire exits being locked.

Dr Sudharshan Ballal, Medical Director of Manipal Hospital, where the injured are admitted, told reporters that his hospital had sent ambulances and 1,000 masks soon after the alert. He said that the 19 critical patients are suffering from the effects of asphyxiation and not external burns. The injured also include three fire fighters.

Fire fighters say that by the time they reached the spot, passersby had started an improvised rescue operation.

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