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Surat fire tragedy: Coaching centre owner arrested, toll mounts to 20

FE Online
Surat Fire Video

Surat accident, Surat fire news today: Surat police on Saturday morning arrested the owner of the coaching centre in connection with Surat fire tragedy that claimed lives of 20 students. Also, an FIR has been filed against three persons including the coaching centre owner who has been identified as Bhargav Bhutani. The two other have been identified as Harshal Vekaria and Jignesh Paliwal, the builders of Takshashila Complex in Sarthana area. Police said that a hunt is currently underway to trace the whereabouts of Vekaria and Jignesh.

Meanwhile, the death toll has mounted to 20 with one more student succumbing to fire injuries. Condition of sixteen students are said to be very critical.

“Police registered an FIR under various sections (of the Indian Penal Code) against three persons last night. They include two builders and the owner of the coaching class. We have arrested one person. 20 persons have so far died in the incident,” Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma.

“We have already arrested Butani. Hunt is on to nab the remaining two,” the top cop added.

On Friday evening, a massive fire engulfed a four-storey commercial complex in Surat’s Sarthana area, leaving 19 students at a coaching centre dead. Police said that while a few jumped to death from the top floor, some were suffocated. In a video clip of the incident, some young students at the complex can be seen jumping off the third and fourth floors amid plumes of thick smoke.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who visited the incident site late evening has ordered a fire safety audit of schools, colleges, coaching centres, hospitals, malls and other commercial buildings to check if they have proper equipment and facilities to deal with fire incidents.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel confirmed that 20 have died. “As per the information received, 20 students have died in the fire. Many others were injured and shifted to a hospital,” he said.

Patel informed that the state government has ordered a detailed inquiry into the tragedy and promised that the government will not spare those found guilty.

Eye-witnesses said that there were around 50 students in the complex when the fire started. They said that coaching classes at the centre were run in a shade built on the top floor of the building. According to Surat fire control room, at least 19 fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service to douse the flames. A fire official told PTI that there was no escape route available for the students who got trapped on the top floors. Also, there was no safety equipment installed in the building.