Low night temperature averted building collapse: Crime Branch on Arpit Palace fire
The massive fire at Hotel Arpit Palace, which killed 17 people on Tuesday morning, could have turned into a major disaster if the LPG cylinders stored on the top floor had exploded, causing the hotel to collapse and damaging surrounding buildings. However, the winter chill helped in keeping the temperature near the cylinders low, thus stopping them from blasting, said a Crime Branch official on Friday.
"Three team members of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Crime Branch on Friday visited the hotel to collect all possible evidence and found six LPG cylinders kept under the marble slab of the open temporary kitchen on the fourth floor. These cylinders could have caused a chain of blasts, demolishing the entire building structure and neighboring buildings as well," the officer, who is part of the investigations, told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"But due to low temperatures in the Capital, the chain of blasts was avoided," he said.
Meanwhile, raids are being conducted to nab the hotel owner, Shardendu Goel, who has been absconding after the fire broke out.
"His younger brother, R.K. Goel, who had been earlier booked by the CBI in 2008 in a forgery case, is now hiding in Qatar," he said.
As per the hotel records, there were 46 rooms of which 35 were occupied by 60 guests on Monday night.