“My daughter was inside the building when the fire broke out. The fire brigade from the fire station, not more than 2 km away, took 45 minutes to come,”said one of the victims’ father.
THE fire brigade arrived at the spot 45 minutes late, claimed witnesses as 23 people were killed after a fire broke out in a multi-storey building in Surat on Friday. “My daughter was inside the building when the fire broke out. The fire brigade from the fire station, which is not more than 2 km away, took almost 45 minutes to come. Even though my daughter got saved, she is in trauma. At least 5-6 parents are still looking for their missing child,” Paresh Patel, father of a rescued girl, told ANI.
A massive fire engulfed a multi-storey building, housing a coaching centre, located in the Sarthana area here on Friday and claimed as many as 20 lives, including that of several students. Speaking to ANI, a witness Prateek Kansara, said: “At least 22-25 children were rescued via stairs, while 20 others jumped. We came to know that there were 70 children inside the building when the incident happened. We are speculating that over 8-10 children are still inside.”
Another witness, Ajay Patel, whose office is opposite the building that caught fire, said the fire brigade came 30-35 minutes late. “The pressure of their pipe was too low to douse the flame,” he said. The Takshashila Complex caught fire and several students of a coaching centre were seen jumping off the building to escape the inferno. Some people were unable to escape and died on the spot. As the rescue operations were carried out, charred bodies of women and children were taken out.
The fire was reportedly triggered by a short circuit. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered an investigation and announced financial help of 4 lakh each to the families of students who died in the tragedy. Rupani said: “Twenty people have lost their lives in the tragedy in spite of our rescue efforts. Students of around 20 years of age were trapped in the coaching centre when a fire broke out in the stairway.” “We have asked the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department Principal Secretary, Mukesh Puri to immediately investigate and submit a report upon the matter. State Government will provide Rs 4 lakh financial help to families of kids who died,” he added.
3 of 20 students killed in Surat fire clear Class XII exams
THREE of the 23 students who died in a massive blaze at a commercial complex in Sarthana in Gujarat’s Surat on Friday had appeared for the Class XII Board exams and had cleared them comfortably, as per results that were declared on Saturday. Among the dead, 16 are girls, the youngest being 15 years of age and the eldest just 22, said police. A child between 3-4 years old received burn injuries in the incident and is currently hospitalised, said Surat police spokesperson P L Chaudhari. Police said Bhargav Bhutani, who was running the coaching class on the third floor of the ill-fated Takshshila Complex, has been arrested on Saturday. Three of the deceased, Yashi Kevadiya, Mansi Varsani and Hasti Surani had appeared for the Class XII exams of the Gujarat board the results of which were declared on Saturday. “While Yashvi passed the exam with 67.75 percentile, Mansi received 52.03 percentile and Hasti passed the exam with 69.39 percentile (B2 grade),” he said. “The youngest victim was 15-year-old Isha Kakadiya while the oldest was 22-year-old Grishma Gajera. Majority of the victims were in the age bracket of 17 to 18. They all were students of a coaching institute imparting art and craft training,” an official said. “While a majority of them were charred to death in the fire, two to three have died as they jumped off from the third and fourth floor of the building to escape the fire,” he added. Earlier on Saturday morning, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said police have arrested the owner of the coaching centre, and two more pesons, both builders, are absconding. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani Friday ordered a fire safety audit of schools, colleges and coaching centres following the deadly incident.