Ten-year-old Sonika Poojary is in tears. She is not used to seeing so many policemen around her house.
The class five student of a local school is the daughter of a mason working on an under construction building on the busy Ghodbunder Road in Thane, near Mumbai.
The three-storey commercial building stands next to Vihang's Inn, a popular business hotel that caught fire at approximately 10.30 on Tuesday morning.
Local politician Pratap Sarnaik, who owns the hotel, confirmed that the fire was caused by a short circuit on the terrace of the building. He added that no one was hurt in the incident.
Charred remains of chairs and tables are the only reminder of what used to be a restaurant there. The terrace had been covered with a tin sheet and converted into a sitting and dining area.
A sneak peek into the hotel's eight floors does not reveal the entire extent of the damage but the presence of over four fire engine vehicles and approximately the same number of private water tankers parked outside was indeed intimidating.
Sarnaik told rediff.com that the housekeeping staff on the 8th floor noticed the fire and informed the authorities.
The hotel stands barely 10 meters away from a gas agency and about 30 meters away from a second-hand car dealer's shop.
Text: and Photograph: Abhishek Mande