Surat: The burnt-down Taxshila Complex in Surat, in which 21 have died, mostly students, after a coaching class in Gujarat’s Surat caught fire, was a tinderbox. Tragedy was waiting to happen as there was hardly any fire safeguards.

The students tried to jump off the commercial complex after it caught fire, said Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel.

Reports say that the Surat Police have filed an FIR against three people, including builders of the complex - Harshal Vekaria and Jignesh, and the owner of the coaching centre Bhargav Bhutani.

The fire engulfed the third and fourth floor of the Taxshila Complex where students were attending a coaching class. Visuals on TV channels showed students jumping off the third and fourth floors of the building.

A fire official said 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.

In a video clip of the incident, some young students were seen coming out of the windows of a coaching class and jumping from the third and fourth floors amid thick smoke coming out from the building.

The students are reported to be in the age group of 8-15 years. There were 60 students in the class other than the teaching staff. While some died after jumping out of the building, many others died of suffocation and burn injuries. They are yet to be identified.

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.

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 classes.

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 help 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.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter to express condolence.