Two people have been arrested in connection with the fire mishap in Surat following the arrest of the owner of a coaching class. Police have arrested the builder and manager of the complex. The death toll stands at 22.
Surat: Two persons, who were on the run, were arrested on Sunday in connection with the fire mishap in a coaching class in Surat. The fire claimed the lives of 22 students.
The two arrested are identified as Harshul Vekharia and Jignesh Paghdal. Their arrests came a day after the coaching class owner Bhargav Butani was arrested.
"Vekharia is the builder while Paghdal used to handle the overall management of Takshashila Arcade. Both were arrested today. We have also got a two-day remand of Butani," Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma said.
18 girls and four boys who were part of an arts and crafts coaching programme were at the institute when it caught fire. The third and fourth floors of Takshashila Arcade were engulfed in flames.
Gujarat deputy chief minister said that the students tried to jump off the commercial complex after it caught fire. Visuals on TV channels too, showed students jumping off the third and fourth floors of the building.
According to reports, there was only one entry-exit point in the building and the fire department of Surat Municipal Corporation had issued notices to the building for lack of fire safety equipment and measures.
The Ahmedabad municipal commissioner has now issued orders to shut down all coaching classes that lack fire safety protocols.
The top two floors had a gym and dance class for women along with vacation classes for children between ages 8-15, where they are taught maths, English and writing.
A fire official said that 19 fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service to douse the fire. Locals too lent a helping hand in the rescue operation to save stranded students as well as other occupants of the four-storey building.
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, who met with the victims later in the day, has ordered an investigation into the incident. The state has also declared financial aid of Rs 4 lakh to each of the families of the children who died in this incident.
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express anguish and said he had asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.
Last Updated 4:35 PM IST