Hours after a massive fire broke out at third and fourth floors of coaching centres building in Sarthana area of Surat in Gujarat on Friday, authorities have reportedly asked all coaching institutes to shut down.
The authorities of the Surat Municipal Corporation are also inquiring whether the building had taken the statutory permission, including regarding fire safety.
At least 18 students have been killed in the fire, said Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. In a terriying video surfaced online, some students could be seen jumping off the building where the fire broke out. The coaching centre was being run on the covered roof-top, which effectively became the fourth storey, and there was a wooden staircase to reach there, witnesses said.
The video showed horrific scenes at the Takshashila Complex in Sarthana area where the building is located, as students tried to save themselves by jumping out of windows.
"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.
"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.
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.
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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "extremely anguished" by the fire tragedy in his home state.
"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," PM Modi tweeted.
With Agency Inputs