At Least 24 Dead, Mostly Children, in India Games Arcade Fire

Sun May 26 2024
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NEW DELHI, India: At least 24 people were killed, most of them children, when a fire broke out in a crowded amusement park arcade in India on Saturday, officials said.

Footage posted on social media showed a raging fire engulfing the whole structure, with black smoke billowing into the sky.

Prabhav Joshi, the district collector of Rajkot in the western state of Gujarat, told media that 24 people, “mostly children”, had died in the inferno and half a dozen others had been hospitalised.

“The police detained four people connected to the gaming zone for questioning,” he said. “We are trying to get more details about the owners of the device.”

More than 300 people were inside the two-storey structure at the TRP amusement and entertainment park when the fire broke out as it was a summer holiday weekend, Rajkot fire officer Ilesh Kher told reporters.

At Least 24 Dead, Mostly Children, in India Games Arcade Fire

“People were trapped when a makeshift structure at the facility collapsed near the entrance, making it difficult for people to get out,” he said.

The flames spread quickly because of its flammable material, he added.

Pictures from the scene showed the corrugated metal structure largely in ruins.

Gujarat is the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wrote on X: “Extremely saddened by the fire in Rajkot. My thoughts are with all who have lost loved ones. Prayers for the injured.”

At Least 24 Dead, Mostly Children, in India Games Arcade Fire

It took almost an hour to douse the fire, the injured were taken to the hospital by about a dozen ambulances.

Fire officials said the cause was a suspected short circuit, and according to the police present at the scene, the bodies of the dead were badly burned, making identification difficult.

Images from an Instagram account that appears to belong to the facility show a lively games and recreation center where teenagers enjoy activities such as bowling, go-karting and trampolining.

Fires are common in India due to poor construction practices, overcrowding and lack of compliance with safety regulations.

In February, 11 people died in a fire at a paint factory in the capital, Delhi.

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