At least 20 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 broke out in a multi-storey Takshila building in Sarthana area. Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17.
"At least 20 people have died in the fire. The death toll may rise," said Surat Police Commissioner Satish Kumar Mishra.
At least 19 fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service to douse the fire, said an official.
"Students on the fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to the hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on," the fire official told news agency PTI.
As per reports, the fire broke out at the third and fourth floor Takshila Commercial Complex. A coaching class was underway at the building. Several students had to jump off floors to save their lives, after a fire broke out on Friday afternoon, news agency PTI reported.
Videos of the incident captured by the locals showed people jumping from the building. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish on the fire tragedy. "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.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered an investigation into the incident. CM has also declared financial help of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of children who died in this incident, said Gujarat CMO office.