A massive fire engulfed a four-storey commercial complex in Surat , killing 20 teenage students at a coaching centre, many of whom jumped and fell to their deaths while some were suffocated, officials said.
In a video clip of the incident, some young students at the Takshashila Complex in Sarthana area, where the building is located, can be seen jumping off the third and fourth floors amid plumes of thick smoke.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said at least 19 students have died in the fire, but Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has put the figure at 20.
“As per the information received, 20 students have died in the fire. Many others were injured and shifted to a hospital,” Patel said.
Students, mostly teenagers, died “either due to suffocation or jumping off from the complex”, he said.
“We have ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident. We will not spare those found guilty,” the deputy chief minister added.
Coaching classes at the centre were run in a shade built on the top floor of the building, he said, adding that they “will check if the construction was illegal”.
Ninteen fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service to douse the fire, said an official of Surat fire control room.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguished over the fire tragedy.
“Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected,” Modi tweeted
Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat Government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 24, 2019