NGO writes to PM, seeks strict fire safety law — Surat fire tragedy

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"14 people died of suffocation on 4th floor and 3 others died due to jumping", said Harikrishna Patel, JCP, Surat. Darshana Jardosh, Member of Parliament from Surat told NDTV "Some of these students are critical, but the crowd managed to save their lives".

The fire broke out at the coaching center on Friday afternoon.

People attend a prayer meeting to pay tribute to the victims of a fire that broke out in a commercial building in the western city of Surat inside a library in Ahmedabad, India, on May 25, 2019. There is only one stair case and single entrance in these institutes. And without fire safety norms binding on them, there is little that the law can do to penalise them for violations.

The fire engulfed the third and fourth floors of the building in a shopping district, The Press Trust of India said. He said sprinkler system ensures students' safety.

Police said that while they have started the process of arresting the owners, one of them is now outside the country.

"Nineteen youngsters, all in their 20s, have died in the fire incident here".

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Amid criticism from victims' relatives that fire officials took up to 45 minutes to arrive on the scene on Friday, deputy chief fire officer S.K. Acharya and fire officer Kirti Mod were suspended, chief fire officer for Surat, B.K. Pareek told Reuters.

The building did not have a functioning fire escape route, this led to chao as students got stuck in the fire.

"The coaching class owners had illegally occupied the terrace and had put up a makeshift dome", he added.

Surat lawmaker Darshana Jardosh said 18 children were killed in the tragedy. He added that buildings have been issued fire NOCs, which is considered safe enough."It is not a problem of one building". This is the eighth fire in a coaching class in Gujarat.

The accused coaching class owner has been identified as Bhargav Butani, and the builders as Harshul Vekaria and Jignesh Paliwal.

As per media reports, the fire department officials reached the spot and deployed 19 fire trucks and two hydraulic platforms to douse the fire and evacuate the people trapped in the building, the NHRC said. He prepared for bank examination in the city and now lives here. One has to acquire fire no objection certificate (noc) to apply for fire license.

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