At least 19 students dead in study center fire in India

World Today

At least 19 students dead in study center fire in India

A fire at a tutoring center in India has left at least 19 students dead. Authorities say “more than double” that number were in the illegally-constructed building when the blaze broke out. CGTN’s Shweta Bajaj has details.

The fire broke out in the middle of the day at a tutoring center located on the third and fourth floors of a complex where classes were going on.  Videos posted on social media show horrific scenes of children jumping out of windows to save themselves from the flames.

An initial investigation points to a short circuit as the cause. One report indicated the building did not have a functioning fire escape.

President Narendra Modi who just won Indian elections in a landslide wrote on Twitter, “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.”

Fires in buildings in India have been on the rise in recent years. According to one government report, there was a 300 percent increase in fire incidents in commercial buildings between 2014, when there were 179 cases, and 2015, with 716 cases. Officials say safety regulations are not being adequately enforced and fire services are overburdened.