BENGALURU: Five employees of a Bengaluru bar-cum-restaurant perished in a raging fire early on Monday after failing to break iron-grilled windows of the eatery. No fire safety norms were in place, police said.
All the five men were still inside the Kailash Bar and Restaurant in the city centre when it went up in flames at around 2.30 am, Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) MN Anucheth told reporters here.
Two fire engines were rushed to the congested vegetable marketplace area, where the restaurant is, to douse the flames after an eyewitness alerted the Police Control Room about the incident. Fire and smoke were seen emanating from the bar on the ground floor of the old building, as many of the alcohol bottles and other inflammable items stored in the premises fuelled the blaze and gutted the building.
Karnataka Director General for Fire and Emergency Services MN Reddi told reporters after inspecting the gutted premises that prima-facie the bar had no fire extinguisher and did not follow safety norms.
“The premises had no emergency exit door, proper ventilation, exhaust fans or any escape route at the rear,” said Reddi, an IPS officer from 1984 batch.
Reddi, who also visited the morgue at Victoria Hospital, said preliminary inquiry revealed that the victims died due to asphyxia and not due to severe burns.
“The victims seem to have tried to escape from the premises but could not as they failed to break the iron grilled windows. No fire safety measures were in place at the bar,” said Reddi.
The cause of the fire was, however, still unknown even 14 hours after it broke out. “Electrical short circuit is suspected to have sparked it,” said Anucheth.
Fire brigade personnel recovered the bodies of the victims after dousing the flames around 4 am.
The victims were identified as Swami, 23, Prasad, 20, Mahesh, 35, Manjunath, 45, and Keerthi, 20. Swami, Prasad, and Mahesh were from Tumakuru, 70 km from Bengaluru, while Manjunath was from Hassan, 180 km away, and Keerthi from Mandya, 100 km from here.