Fire in tutoring center kills 17 students in western India

Firefighters work to douse flames on a building in Surat, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Friday, May 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Sarju Parekh)

New Delhi (AP) — At least 17 teenage students were killed in a fire that broke out Friday in a tutoring center in the western Indian city of Surat, police said.

Police officer Praveen Chaudhary said more than a dozen students were hospitalized with burns.

The students were attending a class when the fire broke out in the four-story building, Chaudhary said. He said all of the students had been accounted for.

Fire officer Deepak Satkale said 24 fire engines battled the blaze. Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the fire engulfed the third and fourth floors of the building in a shopping district.

Television images showed some students jumping from the building to escape the blaze with a thick smoke billowing from the building.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anguished by the fire. “Have asked the Gujarat Government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected,” he tweeted.

Building fires are common in India because of poorly enforced safety regulations.