Kailash Bar and Restaurant in Bengaluru's busy Kalasipalyam turned into a death trap. A passer-by saw smoke at 2:30 am and the fire service responded. But it was too late to save the workers.
"We were able to put out the fire and enter the building. We have removed five bodies from the premises. Right now we are awaiting reports from three specialist teams," senior police officer MN Anucheth said.
"The five were workers of the bar. They were sleeping inside after closing down the bar at 1 am," he said.
The bodies had burn injuries; the cause of deaths will be known after a post-mortem, police said. They had locked the shutters from inside, so fire fighters had to break open the door and enter.
The owners and manager have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and the society that owns the building has been charged with flouting building safety norms.
City authorities had actually been on a drive since January 2 to check fire safety in such establishments, after a fire in two Mumbai pubs last month killed over 10 people.
"What happened in Mumbai in December can happen anywhere. And so we started inspecting all the rooftop bars and unauthorised bars in Bengaluru, whichever was there. We have sealed some of them and issued notice to many," Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj said. "Since this incident happened at a bar, we are also waiting for the excise report whether this was legal and permission was given and all fire safety measures were met or not."
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.