At least 17 teenage students were killed in a fire that broke out Friday in a tutoring centre in the western Indian city of Surat, police said.
Most of the dead were students who had been attending class at a tuition centre housed in the building, according to the spokesman for the office of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. At least 15 persons got injured. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital. He said that the state has ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter and promised to penalise anyone found responsible for the incident.
Nineteen fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms had been pressed into service to douse the blaze, a fire services officer said, adding that the fire started on a wooden staircase on the second floor, the only means of exit from the building, forcing students to run up. Video footage showed a thick cloud of smoke emerging from the Takshashila Complex in Sarthana.
Local officials said that the fire had spread quickly because of the material used in the roof.
"Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke".
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The fire that broke out in a commercial building in Surat on Friday was caused by short-circuit, sources said.
Deaths in fires are not uncommon in India where many establishments do not comply with fire safety standards.
On his Twitter handle he said, "Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat". My thoughts are with bereaved families. "I pray for the families who have lost loved ones, & for the speedy recovery of those injured". "Urge the state government & authorities to take swift measures and provide all requisite assistance", says Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.
The enquiry will be conducted by the Secretary, Urban Development and Urban Housing Development and the report shall be presented to the Chief Minister in three days.
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She said the students are "angry they are still not being heard". "The security guard is literally just in our face". She adds that she had been teaching her students about racism, and that the experience made those lessons real.
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