27, including 4 children, die in Rajkot gaming arcade fire | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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27, including 4 children, die in Rajkot gaming arcade fire

By, Rajkot
May 26, 2024 04:30 AM IST

As per eyewitnesses, the fire engulfed a temporary dome-like structure, which collapsed, trapping dozens of people under it.

At least 27 people, including four children, were killed after a gaming arcade in Rajkot was gutted in a massive blaze on Saturday while scores of families spent a hot weekend afternoon inside.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire which broke out at an amusement park facility in Rajkot, in India's Gujarat state on May 25, 2024.. (Photo by AFP)
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire which broke out at an amusement park facility in Rajkot, in India's Gujarat state on May 25, 2024.. (Photo by AFP)

The number of dead was feared to rise further as firefighters combed through the charred remains of what was the TRP Game Zone. Most bodies were charred beyond recognition.

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“The bodies are completely charred and it is difficult to identify them,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vinayak Patel.

Sudhir Desai, deputy Commissioner of police for Zone 1, told HT that 24 bodies have been recovered so far and sent to Rajkot civil hospital. “We are still working to determine how many of the deceased were children and how many were adults,” Desai said.

News agency PTI later reported the toll had gone up to 27, with at least four children under the age of 12.

According to witnesses, several people, including children were playing games at the game zone, located on Nana-Mava Road, when the tragedy struck. The fire engulfed a temporary dome-like structure, which collapsed, trapping dozens of people under it.

Upon receiving information, a team of fire tenders and officials reached the spot and started an operation to rescue people trapped underneath.

The collapse of the structure also made it difficult for fire department officials to put out the flames, eventually requiring over four hours.

The administration has also formed a high-level committee to probe the incident.

Rajkot Collector Prabhav Joshi said the Fire Control Room received a call at around 4.30pm regarding the blaze at the game zone.

“Fire tenders and ambulances rushed to the spot to douse the flames. The fire caused the collapse of the structure, and debris is being cleared,” Joshi added.

The cause of the fire was not determined till the time of going to print, and an investigation was launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. The owner of the establishment was taken into custody, reports said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief at the loss of lives in the fire tragedy and said the local administration was working to provide all possible assistance to those affected.

Modi spoke to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel to enquire about the rescue and relief efforts.

“The fire tragedy in Rajkot has saddened us all. In my telephone conversation with him a short while ago, Gujarat CM Bhupendrabhai Patel Ji told me about the efforts underway to ensure all possible assistance is provided to those who have been affected,” he said on X.

Patel has announced an ex gratia payment of 4 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and 50,000 to each injured. He also set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident.

After the fire broke out, Rajkot Police Commissioner Raju Bhargav said the cause of the blaze would be investigated and that a message had been issued to all gaming zones in the city to close operations.

“The fire tragedy in Rajkot is heart-wrenching. I express my heartfelt condolences to the persons who lost their lives in this incident and their families. I pray to God for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Patel tweeted.

“The state government will provide 4 lakh to the families of the deceased and 50,000 to the injured. It is very important to ensure that such an incident does not happen again,” he said.

Patel further said that any kind of negligence would not be tolerated and assigned the investigation of the entire incident to a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge also expressed grief over the mishap at the Rajkot gaming zone and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

“The horrific tragedy of the gaming zone in Rajkot, Gujarat is extremely painful. According to the news, 24 people have died, including many innocent children. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish the injured a speedy recovery. I request the Congress workers to provide all possible help to the people affected by the accident so that the victims do not face any problems in treatment or compensation etc.”

Kharge also called out the Gujarat government for a “lax attitude” and demanded accountability for the accident. “Due to the lax attitude of the state government, such accidents keep happening every day and innocent people lose their lives. We demand from the government that accountability for the accident should be fixed as soon as possible and the culprits should receive the harshest punishment,” posted Kharge.

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