Hyderabad: Nine people belonging to two families died of "asphyxiation" and another person was injured in a major fire in a residential building in the Nampally area here on Monday, police and fire department officials said.
The nine were found in an unconscious condition after inhaling smoke that spread over the building along with the flames and rescue teams shifted them to a state-run hospital where they were declared brought dead.
Fire personnel, who took up the operation and rescue efforts, said a fire call was received by the Fire Control Room at 9.34 am and fire tenders were immediately rushed to the area and extinguished the blaze.
According to police, the fire erupted in the stilt area of the apartment complex after some drums containing inflammable chemicals caught fire and it spread towards the upper portion of the building. The complex has ground and four upper floors.
On the cause of the fire, based on preliminary investigation, a senior police official citing some eye-witnesses, who stayed in the neighbourhood, said sparks from firecrackers burst by some children in the area fell on the drums, triggering the fire. However, the exact cause would be known after investigation, he said.
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed grief over the deaths.
Rao announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased.
A total of 21 people trapped on the different floors of the building were rescued through staircase and an extension ladder from the windows, a senior Fire department official said.
TV visuals showed fire personnel evacuating people, including children, through the windows of the building.
The officials further said apart from those rescued, 10 people were found unconscious and they were shifted to a hospital. Nine among them died and one is undergoing treatment for burns, officials said.
The deceased included seven members of one family and an elderly couple of another family, who were residing on the second and third floors of the building.
The deceased were in the age group of six and 66 and included two girls and four women, they said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) M Venkateshwarlu said the fire spread rapidly and thick smoke also spread over the building even as police and fire personnel evacuated the families from the building. One car and some two-wheelers were also burnt in the incident.
Police were also verifying CCTV footage.
Tamilisai Soundararajan directed the Chief Secretary to take immediate measures to provide comprehensive medical assistance to those who sustained injuries in the incident and also issued directives to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, a Press Communique from Raj Bhavan said.
The Governor further directed to furnish a comprehensive report on the circumstances leading to the fire, the response mechanisms in place, and the corrective measures that can be implemented within the next two days, it said.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy and Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao also visited the place.
AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, in a post on "X", said "My heart goes out to the victims of the fire accident. I pray for the swift and full recovery of the injured, and for strength to the loved ones of those who passed away." Owaisi also requested the Telangana Chief Secretary to immediately give an ex-gratia of at least Rs 10 lakh.