NEW DELHI — An enormous blaze broke out at a fully occupied hotel in central New Delhi on Tuesday morning, killing at least 17 people, officials said.
The fire started before dawn, around 4 a.m., and investigators were uncertain about the cause. As flames curled off the roof of the five-story hotel, lighting up the night sky, some desperate guests leapt out of their windows.
The hotel is called the Arpit Palace and rooms go for about $45 a night. The Indian news media reported that just about all 65 rooms had been occupied.
“We still don’t know the reason for the fire,” said Atul Garg, a Delhi fire official. “It’s under investigation.”
Most of the casualties were on the third and fourth floors, he said, and two of the people who jumped from the windows were seriously injured but still alive.
Satyendar Jain, a minister in the Delhi government, told reporters that the hotel had constructed an illegal kitchen and terrace area on the roof of the building. He called the fire a “major case of carelessness.”
Other witnesses said the fire started on the first floor and then jumped floor to floor.
Fire officials said they had rescued 35 people. By 11 a.m., the fire was out.