19 Students Die in Surat Fire Tragedy
BBC
May 25, 2019

A deadly fire broke at a coaching class in Surat, Gujarat killing 19 students.

A deadly fire broke out at the Takshashila Arcade at a private art coaching centre called ‘Smart Design Studio” in Surat. Students mostly in their teens were attending classes at the Smart Design Studio on the third floor. The fire broke out due to a short-circuit in one of the AC ducts.  The Fire Brigade had just one ladder, which barely reached the third floor. Many students jumped from the third floor to escape the fire. There were no safety nets to break their fall. Three of the students jumped died. Those present at the site said that if the fire brigade had brought a life-saving net, injuries and deaths of the students could have been avoided.

Hours later the fire brigade brought out 16 bodies from inside the classrooms. The bodies were charred beyond recognition. A total of 19 students all below the age of 20 have died. From the 19 who died, 16 were girls. The building broke several rules to construct two illegal floors. The coaching class owners had illegally occupied the terrace and put up a makeshift dome. Around 50 burnt tires found on the terrace. Officials are still not sure what the cause of the fire was but said the fire began near a staircase making escape difficult. They blamed the fast moving fire on the flammable roofing.

Deepak Sapthaley, a local fire official said many students started jumping out of the building to escape their lives. They lost their lives because of this.

The Gujarat State Government has asked all educational institutions to shut down immediately for safety checks to be conducted. They have  promised 4 lakh rupees for the families who lost their children. Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences on Twitter and called for local authorities to provide assistance, the Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered a report within three days.