By Amit Cowper
Surat, May 24 (IANS) Amidst the chaos on the top floor and especially the room where children were confined in a burning building in Gujarat’s Surat, a class 10 girl student showed presence of mind in calmly following her teacher to safety, while helping another student.
The fire in the Takshashila Arcade building in the Sarthana area on Friday evening claimed at least 20 lives while 16 others were injured.
Urmi Harsukhbhai Vekari was one of the lucky survivors.
“I hade recently joined this drawing class, just three days ago. There were 20-30 boys and girls learning drawing from Bhargav Sir. Suddenly there was so much smoke in the room… initially we thought that somebody had burnt papers. Thereafter we came to know that fire had erupted and everybody panicked and they started jumping off,” Urmi told IANS.
“I and another girl kept our calm and didn’t panic. But we saw our sir (teacher) safely lowering down to the railing underneath the window. Putting all my trust in him, I, too, lowered myself and he helped me get on the little space underneath and also helped the other girl. We reached the ground safely on the fire brigade’s ladder which came up to us… Bhargav Sir was the last person who came down the ladder,” she said.
According to Urmi, the classes are run at the fine arts institute, where aspiring architects and fine arts students undergo coaching for competitive exams like NATA.
The child, who was seen falling off from the building in a horrifying video, is the child of an assistant teacher that Urmi identified as Grishma Madam. “She doesn’t know what happened. Normally, she didn’t bring her child to the class, but today she did,” Urmi said.