23 February 2010

9 dead and 70 hurt in major fire at Bangalore's Carlton Towers

BANGALORE: Nine persons were killed — three of them jumping to death in panic — after a major fire broke out in Carlton Towers, a multi-storeyed commercial complex, here today.Three persons died due to fatal injuries after jumping from the top floors of the eight-storeyed building while six lost their lives due to severe burns and asphyxiation, sources at nearby Manipal Hospital said. The fire was brought under control and the building evacuated nearly two hours after it broke out at around 4.30 pm.

At least 70 people were injured. Of them, 22 persons are critical in the Intensive Care Unit while some were being treated in the casualty ward, the sources said.Scores of persons fainted after inhaling the smoke and had to be rushed to nearby hospital for first aid, a senior fire official said."The fire began in a lift service cable in the second floor and spread through the duct with smoke engulfing the remaining floors," Erappa, fire chief officer said. "More than the fire it was the smoke that caused panic", he said.
As a thick blanket of smoke engulfed the building, several persons scampered out of their offices, broke window panes in desperation and jumped out.Scores of panic stricken people screamed for help and 15 fire tenders which rushed to the spot, managed to rescue some of them."We have received around 50-60 patients. Some of the persons are seriously ill. We are evaluating the patients' health," Manipal hospital COO Nagendra Swamy said.One girl clad in a blue salwar kameez landed on the roof of the portico after jumping from the sixth floor and then slipped to the ground. Her condition was not immediately known.
One woman even tried to use her saree as a rope to get out.Passersby also rushed to help those trapped. The fire that occurred at the start of the peak hour caused a huge traffic jam on a two kms stretch.Hundreds of people gathered on the busy street hindering the free movement of fire brigade vehicles and fire personnel. Police said a few people jumped out of the building and suffered minor injuries.A large number of people were stuck in the building. A user trapped in the building tweeted (username: Kiran Jonnalagadda) about the incident:"Carlton Towers is burning and six of us are trapped inside. The fire's above but there's smoke everywhere. Saw people jump to their death.""Don't call me folks, you can't help. Will keep posting."Our rescue ladder. It'll only reach the fourth floor. We're on the fifth." "Massive crowd outside. This must have choked traffic for kilometers around." Many users write in about the massive crowd near the place, which is causing traffic blockage. Tweetizens are also posting latest pictures of the happenings in the building.The Twitteratti doing their bit by telling people the actual on-goings to avoid false rumours.People are also warning the others to not to come on that road to avoid the chaos; one user enquires, "We are 20 minutes from Carlton Towers Bangalore. Which is on fire. Hope Things are not as bad as it seems to me"
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