18 pupils die in India fire

Pablo Tucker
May 24, 2019

At least 15 schoolchildren have been killed after a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre in Surat on Friday afternoon, reported news agency ANI.

The fire engulfed the third and fourth floors of the Taxshila Complex, said Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17.

"The rescue operation has ended and 15 people have died", the spokesman said. A few also jumped off while some were seen on videos trying to grab a large banner on the side of the building as they plummeted down.

"Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke".

People were seen helping in the rescue operation to evacuate occupants of the four-storey building.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from the state, offered his condolences for the deaths and instructed the local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.

"Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat". My thoughts are with bereaved families.

The fire was eventually extinguished by the emergency crews, but at least 18 people, including children, died in the incident.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but officials said the blaze spread through packed classrooms because of the material used in the roof.

State Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered a high-level probe into the tragedy and announced compensation of 400,000 rupees (5,750 dollars) for the families of the victims.

Local media reports said that the toll could still rise further as many students were undergoing treatment at local hospitals.

Other reports by iNewsToday