Surat/Gandhinagar, May 25 : With four more people succumbing to their burn injuries, the toll in the Surat fire incident mounted to 23 on Saturday.
At least seven injured are still fighting for their lives in a hospital.
Police have arrested one Bhargav Butani who ran drawing and art classes where the fire had broken out. ACP of crime branch in Surat has initiated a probe into the tragedy. A case under section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide) has also been lodged.
The fire had broken out at around 4pm on Friday in the Smart design Studio in Sarthana area of the city where children were taking art classes. Situated on the third to top floor of a three-storied building Takshila Arcade, the studio had only one entrance which was blocked due to the fire which spread due to the wooden floor.
At least a dozen of the 40 odd children trapped inside jumped off the terrace resulting in the death of half of them. Tragically, it all happened in front of a large crowd, some of them- guardians of the children. While the drawing classes were conducted on the third floor, a gym operated on the second floor. Some charred bodies were recovered inside these.
Disturbing videos of the incident showing panicked children jumping off the roof have also emerged. There were no proper fire safety norms followed in the building. Two shops and around a dozen two-wheelers parked below were also gutted in the inferno. The place of occurrence was close to zoo. The reason behind the deadly fire was not yet to be ascertained. Prima facie, the cause seems to be a short circuit in a sweet-meat shop in the same building. Some time ago, two lives were lost in another fire in a tuition class.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani visited Surat after the tragedy. Meanwhile, in the wake of the incident, checking has been initiated for fire safety norms in coaching classes, hospitals and buildings across the state. Several buildings, including a reading library in capital Gandhinagar, have also been sealed besides around 40 coaching classes in Bharuch and several others places. (UNI)