September 2001 News

14 killed in major blaze in Kashmir

29 September 2001
The Pioneer

Srinagar: Ten non-Kashmiri businessmen were among 14 people killed and 16 others injured in a devastating fire which broke out in a hotel in Sopore town, 55 kms from here, a senior police official said on Saturday. The blaze, believed to be ''accidental'', in new light hotel around midnight on Friday, also gutted 28 shops, five residential houses and eight godowns, senior superintendent of police, Baramulla, Abdul Qayoom Manhas said. While 12 charred bodies had been recovered from the debris of the hotel so far, search was on to locate two more persons who were reported ''missing'', he said. One of the bodies recovered from the three-storied hotel was identified as that of Moinullah of Bihar, Manhas said. He said nine of the seriously injured were referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment while the rest were discharged after first aid. The loss in the devastating fire was estimated to be Rs 2 crore, he said. Quoting preliminary investigations, the SSP said the fire started from the hotel kitchen either by a heater or gas leakage and despite best efforts by the fire brigade the entire hotel and adjoining shops and houses were gutted. Police had registered a case and was investigating into the cause of the fire, he said. The non-Kashmiri businessmen had come to Sopore to finalise a deal with apple traders and checked in the hotel, he said, adding four locals who were feared killed included two waitors and a cook.


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