The fire broke out at a bag manufacturing unit, which was located beside Gyanganga Hindi Vidyalaya on Bhatar Road. The school principal, sensing danger, voluntarily asked the 150 students present in the premises to evacuate. However, when the fire officials arrived, they discovered that the school’s exit was a narrow 1.5 metre staircase, quite similar to the narrow staircase at Takshashila Arcade, where students could not escape after the fire broke out at the entrance.
The fire officials served a notice to the school for the narrow exit and sealed the premises. They also served a notice to the bag manufacturing unit to install fire extinguishers in the premises. Chief Fire Officer, Surat Fire and Emergency Services, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), told Mirror, “It was a minor fire which broke out in a manufacturing machine due to overheating.
However, the principal of the adjacent Gyanganga Hindi Vidyalaya was proactive and evacuated the students. We received the first call at 1.34 pm. Five fire tenders were rushed to the spot by 1.41 pm, but only one had to be used and the fire was brought under control in 5-7 minutes.”
SMC Commissioner N Thennarasan told Mirror that the civic body had got the dome of the school removed last month after the tragic fire incident in the city. “ While it had fire extinguishers installed in the premises, it had a narrow staircase. The school did not require a fire NOC since its height is less than 18 m. We have asked the school authorities to widen the staircase.”