Second India restaurant fire in fortnight kills five

Indian police officers investigate the scene where fire broke out at a bar and restaurant in Bangalore on January 8, 2018.
Indian police officers investigate the scene where fire broke out at a bar and restaurant in Bangalore on January 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BANGALORE, INDIA (AFP) - Five workers were killed early Monday (Jan 8) when a bar and restaurant in southern India caught fire, police said, less than two weeks after a blaze at another eatery killed 14.

Police said an electrical short-circuit probably caused the fire at the Kailash Bar & Restaurant in the southern technology hub of Bangalore.

All five victims were employees who were sleeping at the premises, Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police M. N. Anucheth told reporters.

In late December 14 people were killed in a fire at a rooftop restaurant in Mumbai, many of them young women at a birthday party.

The incidents have raised concerns over lax enforcement of safety rules in India, where fires are common.

Such disasters are particularly frequent in Mumbai, where millions live in cramped and dilapidated properties because of high rents.

Activists say builders and landlords often cut corners on safety to save costs and have accused civic authorities of negligence and apathy.

Police in Bangalore have registered a case of criminal negligence amounting to culpable homicide against the owner of the bar, Anucheth said.

The mayor of the city, which is known for its lively pubs and bars, said he had ordered an inquiry into why the victims were sleeping at the premises.