Rajkot Game Zone fire: 27 killed including four children in Gujarat

The State government has constituted a probe team to investigate and ascertain whether the Rajkot TRP Game Zone had the necessary licences and approvals from the authorities

Updated - May 26, 2024 01:06 pm IST

Published - May 25, 2024 08:35 pm IST

A massive fire that broke out at a game zone in Gujarat’s Rajkot city on May 25, 2024 has claimed at least 27 lives.

A massive fire that broke out at a game zone in Gujarat’s Rajkot city on May 25, 2024 has claimed at least 27 lives. | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

At least 27 people, including four children under the age of 12, were killed in a fire at a sprawling children’s game zone built in a temporary structure in Rajkot on Saturday. The toll is likely to rise once the debris is cleared from the area. 

According to sources, the massive fire from inside the play area teeming with people engulfed the entire TRP Game Zone within minutes and there were no fire extinguishers, emergency exits or trained personnel to handle the emergency evacuation. 

Also read: Fire accidents since Independence – A timeline

Also, there is no clarity on whether the play zone had taken a no-objection certificate from the fire department. Now the State government has constituted a probe team to investigate and ascertain whether the TRP Game Zone had the necessary licences and approvals from the authorities. 

“There is not clarity about how many people were inside and what caused the fire,” a senior official from Rajkot told The Hindu, adding “since it’s vacation and weekend, the place became overcrowded and the management did not restrict the number of people inside the building.” 

Due to extreme heat, the temporary structures collapsed aggravating the situation. There were over 20 air conditioners installed in the building. The AC compressors were hanging on the temporary walls and structures of the building. 

The bodies retrieved were charred beyond recognition and DNA tests would be conducted to determine their identity. So far, 27 bodies have been retrieved and taken to the Rajkot Civil Hospital. 

Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi has rushed to Rajkot. “The SIT members have also rushed to the site and a detailed report will be submitted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the direction to complete the probe at the earliest,” Mr. Sanghavi told the media while leaving for Rajkot. 

President Draupadi Murmu, PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi have expressed grief over the tragedy and loss of lives. 

“The fire tragedy in Rajkot has saddened us all. In my telephone conversation with him a short while ago, Gujarat CM Bhupendrabhai Patel Ji told me about the efforts underway to ensure all possible assistance is provided to those who have been affected,” Mr. Modi posted on X. 

SIT probe ordered

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has announced a five-member special investigation team headed by additional DGP Subhash Trivedi to probe the incident. 

The team has been asked to investigate whether necessary approvals were obtained from the authorities including fire NOC. 

Mr. Patel also announced compensation of ₹4 lakh to the families who lost their loved ones and ₹50,000 to those injured. 

After the incident, Gujarat DGP Vikas Sahay has directed the police force to launch an inspection of all game and play zones across the State and those without fire NOC to be shut down immediately. 

“It is a man made disaster in Rajkot. How such a sprawling zone operated in the city without adequate fire protection infrastructure and nobody has any idea what was the capacity of the zone and how many people were inside,” a resident of Rajkot said. 

Rajkot gaming zone fire | Live updates

On a post on social media platform X, PM Modi said he had asked the Gujarat Chief Minister to ensure stern action against those found guilty. 

Meanwhile, the police have arrested the owner of the play zone, its manager and two others. 

According to eyewitnesses, several people, including children were playing games at the game zone, located on Nana-Mava Road, when the tragedy struck.

Police said that the owner and manager of the game zone were detained and taken to the police station for questioning.

Major fire in gaming zone at Rajkot | Video Credit: Special Arrangement

The gruesome incident is reminiscent of bridge collapse tragedy in Morbi in which more than 140 people had died in 2022 and the boat capsize tragedy in Vadodara in which a dozen children died in January 2024. 

It also brought back the tragic memories of a similar fire tragedy in Surat at a coaching class in an illegal building in which 23 students were killed

(With PTI inputs)

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