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At least 12 people were dead and scores injured when the two-storey City Light Hotel on Rashtrapati Road in Secunderabad collapsed on Monday morning.
One of the oldest hotels in the city, a landmark building known for its authentic 'Irani chai', the City Light Hotel is usually filled with people early morning due to its prominent location. Police said that at least 50 people were in the ground floor restaurant when the building came down at 6.30 am.
Twelve persons, mostly municipal workers, autorickshaw drivers and morning walkers enjoying a cup of tea, were crushed to death.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) workers, police and CRPF jawans rescued 20 others while several people are believed to be still trapped inside. GHMC Commissioner M T Krishna Babu who rushed to the spot said that at least 20 GHMC workers of the early morning shift were in the hotel. Ten workers were rescued and the fate of others was not known, he said.
Those who escaped unhurt told rescue teams that a number of hotel staff were preparing `haleem' on the second floor of the hotel while the first floor was filled with hotel staff and delivery boys who were stocking up for Ramzan after unloading a truck outside the hotel.
The truck was completely crushed but its driver escaped. The hotel was issued a fitness notice three months ago by the GHMC but the owner, Syed Ahmed, apparently ignored the warning.
Rescue teams had to tread cautiously as gas leaked from damaged LPG cylinders, more than a dozen of them, which were in the rubble.