Welding sparks may have caused major fire in Gujarat gaming zone

A massive fire on Saturday killed 28 people, including nine children.

A CCTV footage of a fire at a gaming complex in Gujarat’s Rajkot has gone viral on social media, showing the fire started during welding. A massive fire on Saturday killed 28 people, including nine children.

The footage, which NDTV could not independently verify, shows the fire spreading from sparks released during welding. Some of the sparks fell on a pile of plastic lying nearby and caught fire, which could not be contained despite the efforts of panicked workers.

As the fire spread rapidly, a makeshift building near the entrance collapsed, trapping many people. The facility had only one emergency exit. As most of the recovered bodies are charred, DNA tests have been ordered to identify them.

A police case has been registered against six partners of the sports zone for operating without a license. Police said they have arrested the owner and manager of the site, which did not even have a fire safety certificate.

A special bench of the Gujarat High Court, which took up the case on its own initiative today, termed it prima facie a “man-made disaster”. Pointing to reports that the site was operating without proper permission, the court also noted that highly flammable materials — petrol, fiber and fiber glass sheets — were stored on the premises.

Sources told NDTV that the gaming zone does not have a license to operate and there is no record of obtaining fire clearance from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation.

Meanwhile, the state police chief has issued instructions to close down all sports zones operating without fire safety clearance. A Special Investigation Team has been constituted to probe the case and is expected to submit its report within 72 hours.

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