Posted on May 25, 2019, 9:28 PM IST
Fire blazes Surat coaching centre, 20 students dead
After a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre in Gujarat’s Surat on Friday, fire-safety questions were heavily raised all across.At least 20 people, most being students, lost their lives. Videos posted by witnesses on social media showed several students jumping out of windows on the top floor of the four-storey building to escape the blaze.
Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17. Joint Commissioner of Police Harikrishna Patel said, "The fire started near the staircase, so they could not get down."
In the videos, many people can be seen standing below the building in an attempt to catch the students jumping out of windows. Among those seen falling was a young child. "Some of these students are critical but the crowd managed to save their lives," said Surat MP Darshana Jardosh.
The fire broke out at Takshashila Arcade in Surat’s Sarthana at about 3.30 pm in the afternoon. It engulfed the top two floors and covered the area in huge plumes of smoke. Accordng to reports, 50-60 people were inside the building when the fire broke out.
Likely caused by an electrical short circuit, a video showing electrical box outside the building on fire also surface on social media.
An FIR was registered against the owner of the building, the person who conducted the class and the man who constructed the building. They are on the run.
As per officials, fire spread quickly because the materials used for constructing the roof of the building were flammable. It also did not have a functioning fire escape. The coaching centre was located on the rooftop, and so the only stairway down also caught on fire. A fire official said 19 fire engines were sent in to tackle the fire. "The toll has jumped to 19 and includes 16 females. Sixteen persons died because of burns and three others from injuries after they jumped," Jayesh M Patel, medical officer at Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research, told AFP.
An investigation has been ordered into the incident and a report expected in three days. The state government has also ordered a fire safety audit of all schools, colleges and coaching centres in the state. It has promised to give Rs. 4 lakh to each of the families of those killed