Blaze kills 21 students at coaching centre in Surat

Victims were trapped on top floor; 17 injured, three missing

May 25, 2019 12:59 am | Updated 01:00 am IST - AHMEDABAD

Students jumping out of a coaching centre that caught fire in Surat on Friday.

Students jumping out of a coaching centre that caught fire in Surat on Friday.

A massive fire in a four-storey commercial building in Surat on Friday afternoon killed 21 students at a coaching centre. At least three students are still missing.

Seventeen students have been admitted to hospitals in the city, some in a critical condition.

The fire, which broke out around 3.30 p.m on the ground floor of the building, soon engulfed the third and fourth floors of Takshashila Arcade in the Sarthana area of the city. The students mostly between the ages of 15 and 19, were attending preparatory classes for an architecture exam. The walls and roof of the coaching centre on the top floor were made of plastic. As the fire spread through the building, including the staircase, the victims on the higher floors were trapped.

To escape the blaze, several students tried to jump to safety from the building, which did not have any fire safety systems installed. Four such students were among those killed.

Ninteen fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service, said an official of the Surat fire control room.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who rushed to the spot, ordered an inquiry and announced compensation of ₹4 lakh for the families of each victim.

Mr Rupani asked Principal Secretary, Urban Development, Mukesh Puri to submit a report in three days regarding the tragic incident.

Following the tragedy, authorities have swung into action and ordered shutting down of all coaching centres and classes in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Vadodara.

“As a precautionary step, all coaching class, dance class, summer camp and all such premises which houses children shall be closed until further notice and fire safety compliance certificate from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation fire department,” Ahmedabad Police said on the official twitter handle.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah and other leaders extended their condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.

“Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly," PM said on Twitter.

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