Georgia vows punishment after hotel blaze kills 11

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Georgia vows punishment after hotel blaze kills 11

A fire at a luxury hotel in the Georgian Black Sea resort city of Batumi left 11 people dead and 21 others hurt, officials said Saturday, ABC News reports.

Local media reported that the conflagration had allegedly started in the spa of the 22-storey Leogrand hotel when it was used by Miss Georgia beauty pageant contestants.

The country's Prime Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili diverted to Batumi on the way back from an European Union summit instead of travelling to the country's capital Tbilisi after he learned of the fire, according to a post on his official Facebook page.

The victims - 10 Georgians and an Iranian - all died of smoke inhalation, the interior ministry said.

Ajarian Health Minister Zaal Mikeladze had told journalists earlier that five citizens of Turkey and one citizen of Israel were among those injured. Sending condolences to the families of those who have died in fire, Kvirikashvili thanked fire-fighters for saving hundreds of others' lives.

He added the investigation was launched under article 243 of Criminal Code of Georgia, which means breach of fire and safety norms.

Seventeen fire engines, 120 firefighters, and 200 rescue workers were sent at the site, Gakharia added.

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