Surat fire probe: ‘Fire started on ground floor, moved up via 40 feet cutout’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/surat-fire-probe-fire-started-on-ground-floor-moved-up-via-40-feet-cutout-5748490/

Surat fire probe: ‘Fire started on ground floor, moved up via 40 feet cutout’

City’s Chief Fire Officer B K Pareek said that in their primary investigations they found that the fire started from a hardware and plywood shop based on the ground floor of the building.

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Surat: Government of Gujarat Principal Secretary (Urban Development and Urban Housing), Mukesh Puri investigates the site of charred coaching centre which killed at least 22 students, in Surat, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The fire broke out reportedly from a fault in one of the electrical installations and consumed the entire wooden stairway which was the only access to the building.

City’s Chief Fire Officer B K Pareek said that in their primary investigations they found that the fire started from a hardware and plywood shop based on the ground floor of the building.

“The fire extended from the shop and reached to the entry and exit gates of the building where there were electric metre boxes. There was a huge cutout , measuring 40 feet long that extended from the ground floor to the dome structure on the rooftop. The cutout was of classes of creative art, drawing, fashion designing, etc. The flames caught the cutout and reached to the top floor. The middle floors escaped the blaze. However the stairs of dome structure leading to the lower floor was made up of wooden material, and it got destroyed as a result of which students could not escape from the rooftop,” Pareek told The Sunday Express.

“The dome structure was made of plastic and fibre material sheets with sheets of plywood and thermocol sheets lying on the rooftop. Vehicle tyres were kept for seating arrangements at different places. All these things catch fire easily. Moreover, there were no ventilation and air circulation vents as air conditioners were installed,” he added.

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R K Purohit, the chief engineer of Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited (DGVCL), a state-owned power distribution utility, said that earlier it was claimed that there was explosion in a transformer that led to the fire. “The transformer is situated 300 metres far from the Takshashila Arcade. The fire erupted from the hardware shop and reached to top floor through the cutout,” Purohit said.

“We suspect that power connection may have been given to the coaching centre on the basis of municipal rent tax bill and property documents,” he added.