Surat : Eighteen school children have died in a fire at a coaching centre in Gujarat’s Surat. Most of the students are said to be aged between 14 and 17.
Many students panicked due to the fire and jumped off the windows, sustaining grievous injuries.
The fire broke out at around 3:30 pm, engulfed the top two floors of the multi-storey commercial building called Takshashila Arcade in the Sarthana area of Surat, officials said.
The building was a commercial complex which also housed a tuition centre that catered to school children from Class 9 to Class 12. Reports suggest since the summer vacations were on, the students who were preparing for their Class 10 and Class 12 boards exams were in the coaching centre at the time of the incident.
Two students are critically injured and have been admitted to hospital.
Parliamentarian from Navsari, CR Patil told that the coaching centre was run illegally.
Disturbing visuals showed people on the pavement asking the students to jump off the burning building, hoping to catch them.
Darshana Jardosh, the parliamentarian from Surat, has told that those who jumped from the building are critically injured, while some were saved.
An investigation has been ordered into the incident and the state government has promised to give Rs. 4 lakh to each of the families of those killed.
The owners of the building are on the run, police officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish at 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,” PM Modi said.