Bangalore Carlton Towers Blaze Kills Nine, Scores Injured

At least nine people, including three women, were killed and scores others suffered burns and injuries as a major fire erupted at Bangalore’s seven-storey – Carlton Towers – office complex on Tuesday evening, reports say at least three of the fatalities occurred when people jumped off the building in desperate attempts to escape the inferno.

15 fire engines were pressed into service as firemen waged a two hour battle against the blaze, evacuating some 200 people and shifting them to the nearby Manipal hospital, where at least 35 victims have been admitted and over a dozen are under intensive care.

Doctors and firemen later said most deaths were caused by asphyxiation.

The fire, arguably one of the worst to scald the country’s silicon capital in recent times, was caused by short-circuit in an electrical duct on the fourth floor at around 1630 hours (IST).

“The fire started in an electrical duct following a short circuit on the fourth floor and spread through the building through air ducts,” director of Karnataka Fire Services BG Chengappa was quoted as saying.

Reports citing the firemen say that though the flames did not spread as feared, the smoke inside the building was blinding, leading to panic among those trapped inside the structure.

The flames doused, Carlton Towers – one of the first commercial structures to come up in east Bangalore – is now under a cloud for what a report has alleged to be ‘violations’ of the National Building Code of India (NCBI).

A report on the Deccan Herald website mentions ‘illegal hoardings’ and the lack of ‘mock drills’ and the absence of ‘annual inspections’.

Katta Subramanya Naidu, minister in-charge for Bangalore City, visited the hospital and admitted to media houses that there appeared “to be violations in the construction of the building built nearly a decade ago.”

He said a decision on the matter would be taken in two days after convening officials and consultations with Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

Meanwhile, visiting victims at the Manipal hospital, the chief minister offered condolences to the families of the victims and announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs. 15,000 to those injured in the fire.

He said the state government would bear all medical expenses of those injured in this accident.

According to reports, the deceased have been identified as Surabhi Joshi, Savitha, Benzi Kumar, Purohit Madan Singh, Sunil Iyer, Fayaz Pasha, Siddharth Padam, Akhil Uday Vijayan and Rajesh Subramanian.

(Based on Media Reports)

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