Fire at residential building kills 5 in northern India

NEW DELHI — A fire at a residential building early Monday killed five people in northern India, police said.

The fire broke out from an apartment building early in the morning in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, said Dinesh Kumar, a police official. Television channels showed plume of smoke engulfing the area as fire tenders worked to douse the flames. The officer said the fire has been extinguished.

The victims included three women, a young boy and a man.

Authorities ordered an investigation. Kumar said an explosion from cooking gas cylinder appears to have caused the fire.

Many residents of Indian cities use liquefied petroleum gas sold in large cylinders for cooking.

Few other details were available.

Fires are common in India, where building laws and safety norms are often flouted by builders and residents. In December, a late-night fire in a restaurant at a Mumbai complex killed 15 people.

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