20 Killed As Fire Engulfs Coaching Center In Surat
At least 20 people, mostly students, were killed after a massive fire broke-out on the top floor of a three-storey building of Takshashila Arcade in Surat, Gujarat on May 24.
Terrifying visuals of students jumping off the windows of a building emanating thick smoke, surfaced online on social media platforms.
— Mayursinh (@apkajaddu) May 24, 2019
According to reports, most of the students were aged between 14-17. Darshana Jardosh, Member of Parliament from Surat told NDTV “Some of these students are critical, but the crowd managed to save their lives.”
Short Circuit- The Possible Cause
Initial investigation has pointed towards a short circuit could be the probable reason behind the fire. However, there is no confirmation regarding the same.
A fire official was quoted saying that the flames started from the ground floor and reached the top floor, this forced students to take shelter on the covered terrace.
“Lot of smoke accumulated on the top floor where AC compressors and tyres were housed, which too caught fire. There was no escape route available for the students who got trapped on the top floors. The fire was doused in an hour. There was no safety equipment installed in the building,” a fire official told the media.
The building did not have a functioning fire escape route, this led to chao as students got stuck in the fire. According to police officials, the owner and constructor of the building are on the run.
A total of 19 fire engines were pressed into service along with a couple of hydraulic platforms. Fire brigade took around an hour to douse the fire. According to eyewitnesses, there were a total of 50 students in the building when the fire broke out. Locals were quick to respond and helped in the rescue operation.
CM Office Announces Inquiry
Gujarat’s Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani has ordered for a immediate investigation into the accident. He also paid a visit to those injured. “I am told that due to fire in the staircase, several people jumped from the fourth floor of the building to escape. Have ordered inquiry,” Vijay Rupani said. Chief Minister promised a financial aid of Rs 4 Lakh to the families of the victim.
In the Aftermath, the Municipality in Ahmedabad ordered the closing of all coaching classes until further notice, in order to check whether the safety norms are being followed as per regulations.
Leaders Offer Condolences
PM Narendra Modi tweeted to express his anguish.
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
BJP President, Amit Shah also took to Twitter to express his sympathy towards victims and their families. Congress President also expressed condolences.
The Logical Indian Take
Fire incidents have emerged as one of the largest causes of accidental deaths in the country, claiming a total of 17000 lives in 2015 alone (according to government data). According to factly, fire accidents accounted for an average of 62 deaths in a day (between 2010-2014).
Indian Risk Survey (IRS),2018 has listed fire outbreak as the third biggest risk to business continuity and operations. The same survey listed fire outbreak to be the eighth biggest risk to business in 2016.
It is high time that the authorities proactively conduct check at regular intervals to ensure that fire safety norms are strictly adhered to. At the same time, it is incumbent upon us, the citizens, to ensure that our builder/constructor is complying with the rule book on fire safety and precautions.