At least 19 students were killed in a massive fire which broke out at a coaching centre located in a multi-storied building in Gujarat's Surat city on Friday, officials said. Videos recorded by witnesses on social media showed several students jumping out of windows on the top floor of the building to escape the blaze. Most of the students were said to be between the ages of 14 and 17.
The fire, which broke out in the afternoon, engulfed the top two floors of the multi-storey commercial building in Sarthana area of Surat, officials said adding huge plumes of smoke covered the area. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. A fire official said 19 fire engines were sent in to control the fire. "Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on," the fire official said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled 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," he wrote on Twitter.
An investigation has been ordered into the incident and Gujarat government has promised to give Rs. 4 lakh to each of the families of those killed.