At least 17 people died in a major fire that broke out in Hotel Arpit Palace in the Karol Bagh area of central Delhi in the early hours of today, official sources said.
About six others suffered injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals, including the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, for treatment, they said.
Fire Brigade sources said they had rescued about 35 people from the hotel.
A woman and a child were among those who were killed in the blaze. At least two people jumped out of windows from the upper floors of the building.
Satyendar Jain, Delhi's Minister for Health, Industries and Urban Development, told reporters that 17 people had died in the fire.
He said investigations would be conducted to see if the hotel owners had violated construction bye-laws and whether they were guilty of negligence in any way.
Other sources said five of the bodies had been charred beyond recognitiion while most of the others had died of asphyxiation. The authorities were also trying to trace some people who have not been accounted for yet, they added.
Most people staying in the 46-room hotel were sleeping when the fire broke out around 4.00 am, they said. An exact count of those present in the hotel, including staff members, was not available.
Some of the guests were from Myanmar, sources said. There was also a large group of people who had travelled together to Delhi to attend a social event, they said.
Around 25 fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the flames were brought under control by this morning, sources said.
Fire brigade sources said they received a call around 4.30 am about the fire. They said that the fire, which mainly affected the third and fourth floors, had spread considerably by the time the Fire Brigade was alerted and the fire tenders reached the scene.
After bringing the flames under control, fire services personnel were searching the hotel, room by room, to ensure that no one was still left inside.
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and would be established in an inquiry that would be conducted, they added.
(Our News Desk can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)