Nineteen students were killed after a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre in Gujarat's Surat of India on Friday afternoon. Videos posted by witnesses on social media showed several students jumping out of windows on the top floor of the building to escape the blaze.
Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17. Disturbing visuals showed people on the pavement asking the students to jump off the burning building, hoping to catch them. It is not clear if any of the students who jumped, survived.The fire, which broke out at around 3:30 pm, engulfed the top two floors of the multi-storey commercial building called Takshashila Complex in the Sarthana area of Surat, officials said. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.
Huge plumes of smoke covered the area. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation.
A fire official said 19 fire engines were sent in to control the fire. "Students on fourth and third floor jumped off to the ground to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital. The operation to douse the fire is on," the fire official told news agency PTI.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the incident.
An investigation has been ordered into the incident and the state government has promised to give Rs. 4 lakh to each of the families of those killed.