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CCTV Footage Unveils Cause Of Rajkot Blaze: Welding Near Inflammable Material

A senior official, citing preliminary investigations based on CCTV footage, said that the Rajkot gaming zone fire may have been initiated by sparks from a welding machine landing on 'piles' of inflammable material.
07:34 AM May 27, 2024 IST | simran rajpal
cctv footage unveils cause of rajkot blaze  welding near inflammable material

Sparks from a welding machine landing on "piles" of inflammable material could have started the Rajkot gaming zone fire, a senior official said, citing preliminary investigations based on CCTV footage.

The blaze, which broke out late Saturday afternoon at the TRP gaming zone and amusement park, killed 28 people, including seven minors. Authorities have recovered the remains of all missing persons except one.

Rajkot Collector Prabhav Joshi informed The Indian Express that CCTV footage showed welding work being conducted on the gaming zone's first floor, where piles of inflammable material were stored.

Joshi stated, “We stored piles of foam sheets, plastic mattresses, and thermocol along with other materials used in such temporary structures. So, it seems that some flames from the welding work fell on the material, causing the fire.”

On Saturday, the official had stated that several air-conditioners were overloading the wiring, leading to a suspected short-circuit as the cause of the fire.

Authorities have stated that the gaming zone, established under a shed, operated for nearly three years without obtaining permission or clearance. Rajkot City Police Commissioner Raju Bhargava announced that police have charged six individuals, including owner Yuvrajsinh Solanki and manager Nitin Jain, with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Both Solanki and Jain were arrested Sunday morning.

Joshi mentioned that highly inflammable liquids such as petrol and diesel, used for go-karts and generators, might have been stored on the site. He emphasized that this theory cannot be dismissed, as there may have been a buffer stock for go-karting. However, since they couldn't find any evidence of containers where these liquids might have been stored, they cannot confirm this possibility.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Bhikhabhai Theba, one of the first responders on the scene, described the fire as swift and severe, leaving victims with no chance to escape. “The fire spread so quickly that several people didn’t have the opportunity to flee. Their bodies suffered severe burns,” Theba stated.

The Collector announced that the government has opted to send body samples to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar for DNA testing because of the nature of the burn injuries.

An air ambulance, transporting the DNA samples, arrived at Gandhinagar at around 4 am on Sunday. Officials additionally gathered samples from family members.

“The government chose DNA analysis for scientific identification, despite some identification evidence on the bodies such as rings and bangles, to ensure accuracy in the process of handing over the bodies,” stated the Rajkot Collector. Identifying some of the hard tissue samples is expected to take approximately 36-48 hours.

The Gujarat government has established a special investigation team to investigate the fire and submit a preliminary report by Tuesday. Officials have been instructed by the government to conduct inspections at all gaming zones, which have been closed following the incident and will remain so until necessary corrective action is taken.

The incident occurred as the Gujarat government is in the process of regulating amusement parks, with policy decisions expected to be announced in the near future.

Also Read: Cyclone Remal Hits Bengal: Over 1 Lakh People Evacuated To Shelters

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