Kenya resident Rupal Vekaria and her fiancé Kishan Halai died, while her mother and sister survived, another Nairobi resident, Kantilal Vara also lost his life
As followers of the Swaminarayan religion, the Vekaria family received support from the community when news of the incident spread
The fire at Hotel Galaxy that tragically claimed three lives on Sunday, included a young engaged couple. The victims were members of a family that had traveled from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, with the intention of catching a flight to return to Nairobi, Kenya. Unfortunately, they and another person missed their connection to Nairobi and the airline arranged accommodation for all five of them at Hotel Galaxy close to the International Airport.
The five people caught up in the fire have been residing in Nairobi for several years. While Rupal Kanji Vekaria, 25, and her fiancé Kishan Halai, 28, lost their lives in the fire, Rupal’s mother, Manjula Vekaria, 49, and sister Alpa, 19, survived. The bodies of Rupal, Kishan, and another passenger named Kantilal Gowardhan Vara, 48, were to undergo post-mortem at VN Desai Hospital. Vara, who is not associated with the Vekarias, hailed from Ranawav near Porbandar.
A close relative of the Vekaria family which is from the Patel community, revealed that though they have settled in Nairobi, they still maintain connections to their ancestral home in Rampar village of Mandvi taluka in Bhuj district, Kutch. They were returning to Nairobi post their visit this time.
Assistant Inspector Sudarshan Surve of Vakola police station, who is investigating the case, said that based on statements from surviving family members, Rupal and Kishan were engaged and the family was heading back to Nairobi. The fire broke out on the second floor and spread to the third floor where they were staying.
As followers of the Swaminarayan religion, the family received support from the community when news of the incident spread. Volunteers from the Swaminarayan Vishranti Bhavan near Milan Subway in Vileparle rushed to the hospital to provide assistance and support to the grieving family.