Surat: The horrific sight of students jumping off the top floor of a commercial building in Surat, to escape the engulfing fire, would be hard to forget.
It has now emerged that the crowd that had gathered below asked students to jump off, hoping to catch them. But not all of them were lucky.
Reports say that three of the students who jumped off died in hospital, later, of severe injuries. The death toll now stands at 20, most of them burnt beyond recognition.
Most of the students are said to be between the ages of 14 and 17. “The fire started near the staircase, so they could not go down,” the Joint Commissioner of Police said.
The fire was caused because of an electrical short-circuit. A video showed an electrical box of high-voltage cables outside the building on fire.
An FIR has been filed against the owner of the building, the person who conducted the class and the man who constructed the building. They are on the run.
The state government has also ordered a fire safety audit of all schools, colleges and coaching centres in the state. It has promised to give Rs 4 lakh to each of the families of those killed.