At least 17 people have died after a major fire broke out on the top floor of a budget hotel in central Delhi .
A woman and a child who tried to escape the fire by jumping from a high window were among those killed, according to local media reports.
The blaze at the five-storey Hotel Arpit Palace began at around 4.30am, and 25 fire engines were involved in the four-hour effort to bring it under control.
While dramatic images and videos shared on social media showed only the top floor consumed by flames, fire officer Vijay Paul said the fire had reached all but the ground floor.
Besides those killed, another four people were being treated in hospital for injuries, officials said in a mid-morning update that saw the death toll almost double.
17 dead in Delhi hotel fire: in pictures Show all 16
Around 35 people were evacuated safely, but many were unable to escape to do wooden panelling that lined most corridors in the hotel and allowed the fire to spread quickly, according to Delhi fire services director GC Misra.
Misra confirmed the dead “include a woman and a child”.
Both the police and fire services are investigating what started the blaze, officials said, with the cause yet to be ascertained. While the fire was extinguished, the investigation would only begin in earnest once the building had cooled enough to allow officials to enter, Paul said.
The incident once again highlights the poor state of fire safety standards across India, particularly in its major metropolises where high rents force many people to live in cramped, congested and ill-regulated conditions.
In December, 11 people died when a fire broke out at a public hospital in Mumbai, and in 2017 in the same city a fire at a popular restaurant killed 14.