S Pandey, IG Lucknow
S Pandey, IG Lucknow on Charbagh fire incidentANI

A fire in two hotels in the Charbagh area of Lucknow on Tuesday morning killed five people. The fire broke out at the Hotel Virat International and soon spread to the adjacent SSJ International Hotel, gutting both buildings as firefighters struggled to contain the flames.

It took the firemen more than two hours to douse the raging flames, by which time both buildings were damaged beyond repair. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Deepak Kumar said that the fire started in the basement of the Hotel Virat International, and quickly spread to the upper floors.

Senior district officials were rushed to the stop and are currently overseeing search and rescue operations. As of now, five people including a woman and a child have been confirmed to be killed in the fire. They were staying at the Hotel Virat International.

The police say that they have evacuated 50 people from the hotels as of now, but have not ruled out the likelihood of some more people trapped inside the hotel rooms. There is no official confirmation from both hotels of the number of people checked-in at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, but preliminary reports show that it could have been due to a short circuit in the electrical system. The police have promised strict action if the fire was caused due to a lapse in the hotel management or security.

[With inputs from IANS]