An electric scooter showroom fire late on Monday night (September 12) claimed the lives of 8 people in the city of Secunderabad after it spread to a hotel located above the dealership. This marked one of the deadliest incidents of a fire involving an electric vehicle in the country. The fire reportedly originated from the basement parking of the electric two-wheeler dealership before spreading upwards into the hotel above. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Police and firefighters used cranes and other equipment to pluck stranded hotel guests from upper floors of the four-storey building as smoke billowed out of its windows, media images showed.
“There were electric scooters parked where the fire started. We don’t know if it started because of over-charging and then spread or whether it started elsewhere. That is still being established,” Chandana Deepti, deputy commissioner, Hyderabad was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“Those staying on the first and second floors were overpowered by smoke and the maximum casualties are from those floors,” C.V. Anand, the police chief of the neighbouring city of Hyderabad, told ANI.
As per reports the water sprinkler system in the building was not functional when the fire erupted with the police now having registered FIRs against the owner of the e-scooter showroom and building owner for culpable homicide and causing hurt. The deceased were identified as guests staying at the hotel with most succumbing to asphyxiation due to the smoke.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet announced compensations of Rs 2 lakh for the family members of the deceased while the injured would receive compensation of Rs 50,000.
Telangana Home Minister Mohammad Mehmood Ali condoled the loss of lives and said that the family of the deceased would receive an ex-gratia payment of Rs 3 lakh each from the state government.
This marked the latest in a string of EV related fires that have impacted the Indian automotive industry in the last year. A number of electric scooter fires have been reported in the country over the course of the past year.
Image Credit: ANI Digital via Twitter