Indian police charge owners as school fire toll hits 20

26 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

SURAT: Indian police on Saturday charged the owners of a private school after a fire killed 20 teenagers, some who died jumping from the building in a desperate bid to escape the flames, officials said, reports AFP.

Sixteen of the dead were young women who had been preparing for exams at a tuition centre illegally set up on the top of a commercial building in the western city of Surat, the officials said.

Horrifying images of the students leaping from upper floors of the building on Friday afternoon have spread on social media.

A youth died in hospital on Saturday, increasing the toll, as a provisional inquiry revealed that the school was housed in a plastic dome that was quickly engulfed in flames. Most of the victims were aged between 15 and 19, officials said. More than 50 students were in classes when the fire erupted.

Government officials said five of the dead had been due to receive exam results determining their university entrance on Saturday.