Gujarat: 28, including children, killed in Rajkot gaming zone fire accident

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has instructed officials to prioritize arrangements for immediate treatment of the injured.
A massive fire breaks out at the TRP game zone in Rajkot on Saturday.
A massive fire breaks out at the TRP game zone in Rajkot on Saturday. Photo | ANI

AHMEDABAD: Twenty eight people have been officially declared dead after a major fire broke out at the TRP Gamezone in Rajkot on Saturday. The blaze sent plumes of smoke billowing up to five kilometres away. Several of the dead are feared to be children.

According to information provided by local residents, over 30 children and their parents were trapped inside the gaming zone. The fire department team arrived promptly at the scene and successfully rescued many of them.

Locals said the fire began with a massive explosion in the air conditioning unit. The explosion engulfed the gaming zone in thick smoke as the fire quickly intensified. The blaze grew rapidly following a short circuit in the AC. Panic ensued as people rushed to flee from the flames and smoke.

According to officials, the fire broke out around 4:30 PM. Rajkot District Collector Prabhav Joshi stated, "We received the call at approximately 4:30 PM. The temporary structure in the gaming zone had collapsed. The fire was brought under control about two hours ago. We will establish a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the incident. Debris removal is ongoing. We are in constant communication with the Chief Minister."

Rajkot Police Commissioner Raju Bhargav said, "I cannot confirm the cause of the fire; it requires investigation. Rescue operations are in progress, with multiple fire engines deployed. We will consult with fire brigade officials to determine the necessary course of action."

"Our priority is recovering as many bodies as possible. Presently, approximately 20 bodies have been retrieved and transferred to the hospital for further examination. Investigations will proceed accordingly. The gaming zone is owned by an individual named Yuvraj Singh Solanki. We will be filing charges for negligence and the resulting fatalities," he said.

"The owner and manager of the gaming zone have been brought to the police station for questioning. Further action will be taken following reports from the Fire Department & FSL," Bhargav said.

Fire official RA Joban stated, "We cannot provide the exact number of casualties at this moment. Our teams are actively working to recover bodies and the search operation is still ongoing."

Rajkot fire officer IV Kher stated, "The cause of the fire is still unknown. Efforts to extinguish the blaze are ongoing. We have not received any reports of missing persons. The firefighting operation is challenging due to the collapse of the temporary structure and the high wind velocity."

Following the fire, the government has ordered all gaming zones throughout the state to cease operations. Comprehensive inspections of fire safety measures will be carried out at all these sites.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel tweeted that the city administration has been directed to conduct immediate rescue and relief operations at the game zone.

"Instructions have been given to the Municipal Corporation and the administration for prompt rescue and relief efforts in response to the fire incident at the game zone in Rajkot. Prioritizing the immediate treatment of the injured has been emphasized," Patel tweeted.

The Gujarat government has also declared the establishment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the fire tragedy. According to sources, three individuals have been reportedly detained in connection with the case.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called upon the state government to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into the matter. He also urged his party workers to assist the administration in relief activities.

"The news of the tragic fire in a Rajkot gaming zone, resulting in the deaths of many people, including innocent children, is deeply painful. I extend my heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved families and hope for a swift recovery for the injured. I urge Congress workers to assist the administration in the relief and rescue efforts. I also call upon the Gujarat government and administration to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this incident and ensure swift justice for all affected families," Rahul Gandhi wrote on X.

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