At least Nineteen students were killed after a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre in Gujarat’s Surat on Friday afternoon. Videos posted by witnesses on social media showed several students jumping out of windows on the top floor of the building to escape the blaze.
Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17. Disturbing visuals showed people on the pavement asking the students to jump off the burning building, hoping to catch them. It is not clear if any of the students who jumped, survived.
The fire, which broke out at around 3:30 pm, engulfed the top two floors of the multi-storey commercial building called Takshila Complex in the Sarthana area of Surat, officials said. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.
Huge plumes of smoke covered the area. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation.
A fire official said 19 fire engines were sent in to control the fire. “Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on,” the fire official told news agency PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani were among who condoled the incident.
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
सुरत, गुजरात में हुये इस हादसे की ख़बर से बहुत दुःख पहुंचा है।
पीड़ित परिवारों के प्रति, मैं गहरी शोक और संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूँ।
घायलों के जल्द से जल्द स्वस्थ होने की कामना करता हूँ। https://t.co/RWnH8dJTdP
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 24, 2019
My heart goes out to the parents & loved ones of the children killed in the fire in Surat.This mind-numbing tragedy once again drives home how poor our building codes & fire safety standards are.May the souls of the deceased rest in peace & may the injured make a speedy recovery.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 24, 2019
Deeply saddened by the news of Surat fire tragedy. Instructed officials to do needful. My prayers are with all those affected. May those who have been injured recover at the earliest. I pray for the departed souls. Om Shanti.
— Vijay Rupani (@vijayrupanibjp) May 24, 2019