The Surat Police in Gujarat said on Saturday that one person was arrested and a first information report was registered against three people in connection with the fire that broke out at a coaching centre in the city on Friday, ANI reported.
Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said a man who used to conduct classes at the coaching centre was arrested on Saturday morning, according to Hindustan Times. Police said two builders are also named in the FIR.
Sharma said 20 people died in the incident and at least 20 others were injured. “All type of tuition classes have been stopped for now, classes can only be conducted after the required fire safety checks are done and a fire safety certificate has been obtained,” Sharma said, according to ANI.
Most of the victims were teenagers who were attending classes at the coaching centre, according to PTI. Some of them died after inhaling smoke, while many of them reportedly died after jumping out of windows to escape the fire. A video clip of the incident showed students jumping off the third and fourth floors amid plumes of thick smoke.
The fire reportedly engulfed the second floor of the Takshashila Complex in Sarthana. The building housed at least four coaching centres, one of which ran drawing classes for children during summer, according to Hindustan Times.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, however officials suspect a short-circuit in the electrical wiring.
Ahmedabad Police Commission AK Singh too has ordered private coaching centres to shut down till July 23, according to The Times of India. Singh ordered owners of private coaching classes to submit no-objection certificates from the fire safety department, proof of prescribed fire safety equipment. Police said action will be taken if classes are found to be functioning in violation of the order.
Several actors condoled the death of the students. “Terrible tragedy in Surat.. a devastating fire and 14-17 year old children caught in it jump off the building and perish.. Grief beyond expression,” tweeted Amitabh Bachchan.
Lyricist Javed Akhtar called the incident a “huge tragedy” and asked for stricter fire safety rules across the country. “The municipalities of all the cities in our country should be much strict and insistent to make every building adhere to fire safety rules,” he said.
Urmila Matondkar, who recently fought the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai on a Congress ticket, expressed her condolences.