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New Delhi hotel fire kills at least 17 people

"I could hear, 'help, help!' from adjoining rooms," one guest said.
Image: A fire swept through a hotel in New Delhi, India
A fire swept through the Arpit Palace Hotel in New Delhi early Tuesday.Associated Press

NEW DELHI — A fire engulfed a shoddily built budget hotel in New Delhi early Tuesday, killing 17 people, Indian authorities said.

Most of the deaths at the Arpit Palace Hotel were due to suffocation, according to an official.

One hotel guest said rescue efforts were delayed because fire engine ladders couldn't reach his floor.

The Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh, an area in India's capital city full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists, had 43 guest rooms, according to its website.

About three dozen people were rescued from the hotel.

Among those rescued was Sivanand Chand, 43, a hotel guest who was jolted awake around 4 a.m., struggling to breathe.

"When I got out of my room, I could hear, 'help, help!' from adjoining rooms," Chand said, adding that he opened the window and saw flames rising very fast. "In 15 minutes, the whole room was black."