PALAKKAD: Two persons who were staying at the Hill View Tower hotel at Nellipuzha in Mannarkad died of asphyxiation and two other guests were rescued after the building caught fire in the early hours of Friday.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel said they were informed of only two guests staying at the hotel partly owned by Mannarkad municipal chairman C Mohammed Basheer at the time, not about the persons who died. The deceased — Mohammed Basheer, 58, of Thalakdathoor in Malappuram and Pushpalatha, 42, of Vilayur near Pattambi — were staying in rooms located on the third floor of the hotel. The fire broke out at the restaurant reception on the ground floor of the three-storey hotel at 3am. All furniture and other facilities on the floor were completely destroyed.
While the smoke billowed and filled the rooms on upper floors, fire and rescue services personnel managed to put the blaze out before it caused more damage. When the rooms were inspected later, two persons were found dead on the third floor. Hotel employees told the fire brigade that there were only two guests in the rooms at the time and the personnel rescued both of them, they added.
Hotel owner Mohammed Basheer blamed the one-hour delay in the arrival of fire engines for the deaths and damage. However, Mannarkad assistant fire station officer A K Govindan Kutty denied the charges and said they received the information at 3.20am from the police station and they arrived at the hotel at 3.25am. It is felt that a short circuit was the reason for the fire. The losses are yet to be estimated.