A WOMAN and child are among 17 dead after they jumped to their death as fire ripped through a hotel in New Delhi.
Shocking footage shows the entire top floor of the budget Arapit Palace hotel being ravaged by a harrowing blaze at about 4.30am local time (11pm Monday GMT).
Many of the victims were sleeping when the fire — believed to have been caused by a short circuit — broke out and died of suffocation.
Some of the dead tried to jump from the fourth floor as the inferno engulfed the building.
A hotel guest said rescue efforts were delayed because fire engine ladders couldn’t reach his floor.
Rescuers had to use the windows to reach people because the corridors, made of wooden panels that worsened the fire, were blocked.
FIRE SAFETY CONCERNS
The five-story hotel had a makeshift sixth floor built on top of the roof out of fibreglass.
Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain said strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty of criminal negligence and an inquiry has been launched.
He said: “Carelessness on the part of authorities is evident.
“We are going to investigate, and the wrongdoer will be punished.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Sunil Choudhary told local news service ANI: “The fire has been doused.
“We have to look for bodies, if any, inside the hotel.
“Those injured have been sent to hospital.
“Two hotel staff members had jumped from the fourth floor of the hotel in an attempt to save themselves.
“The status of the staff who jumped is yet to be known.”
It is believed that the entire 35-room hotel had been booked out by one family for a wedding, according to local news source Garg.
At least 22 fire crews battled for four hours to douse the flames while 35 people were rescued.
The fire raises fresh questions about the safety standards in less affluent areas of the Indian capital – which is home to more than 18million people.