Firefighters attempt to douse a fire in Taxshila Complex after a fire engulfed the third and fourth floor of the coaching centre, in Surat. (PTI) 

Fire In Surat Kills 20 People, Including 18 Teenagers 

A massive fire engulfed a four-storey commercial complex in Surat, killing 20 people, including 18 teenage students at a coaching centre. Many of the students jumped and fell to their deaths while some were suffocated, officials said.

The fire engulfed the third and fourth floor of the Taxshila Complex in Surat, an official said. "Eighteen students have died either due to suffocation or jumping from the building when fire engulfed the commercial complex," Gujarat Minister of State for Health Kishor Kanani said.

"We have ordered a detailed inquiry and anyone found responsible for the incident won't be spared," Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said

A video clip aired by news channels showed students jumping off from third and fourth floor windows amid plumes of thick smoke rising from the building. Nineteen fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service for dousing and rescue operations, Sarthana area of Surat, said an official of Surat fire control room.

"Several students on the fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been sent to hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on," said a city fire official.

Local people helped with the rescue operation to save stranded students and other occupants of the building housing coaching classes and other establishments. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ordered the principal secretary of the Urban Development department to rush to the spot. He also declared financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each for the family members of those who died in the incident.

Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his anguish over the incident.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed grief over the fire tragedy. He condoled the death of those who died in the tragedy and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured. "I pray peace for the departed souls and courage for their family members to bear the shock," Gehlot said in a statement.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed his condolences to the families of the students killed. "I am pained on hearing the news about the tragedy in Surat in Gujarat. I express my deep condolences to the families of the affected persons. I also wish for the speedy recovery of the injured," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Bloomberg Quint

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