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Tyres for chairs in coaching centre fanned Surat fire

All municipalities and municipal corporations in Gujarat have undertaken a drive to identify buildings that do not comply with fire-safety norms

By PTI in Gandhinagar
  • Published 27.05.19, 3:46 AM
  • Updated 27.05.19, 3:46 AM
  • a min read
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Government of Gujarat principal secretary (urban development and urban housing), Mukesh Puri investigates the site of the charred coaching centre, in Surat, on May 25, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The presence of inflammable materials, including flex and tyres, and fire tenders stationed at a distance contributed to the blaze and hampered the rescue operation at a Surat commercial complex where 22 students died on Friday, the Gujarat chief secretary has said.

“The fire spread very quickly because highly inflammable materials such as flex were used…. The ceiling (of the art-and-craft coaching institute) was just 5ft high. Since one cannot sit on a chair in such a room, the owner used tyres instead for the students,” chief secretary J.N. Singh said on Sunday.

“High-capacity fire tenders took time to reach the spot as they were stationed at a considerable distance, around 45 minutes away. It hampered the fire-fighting operation to some extent,” he added.

Singh said two officials of the Surat fire department had been suspended for laxity. All municipalities and municipal corporations in Gujarat have undertaken a drive to identify buildings that do not comply with fire-safety norms.

“They have formed 713 teams to identify such buildings. We have already examined over 9,900 buildings housing tuition classes, malls and hospitals, and issued showcause notices to over 9,300 premises. Owners have been warned that they should install fire-fighting systems or else the buildings will be sealed,” Singh said.