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More than 20 dead, including several children, after massive fire at Indian mall

A massive fire at an arcade in a mall in India Saturday has left more than 20 people dead as officials work to determine the cause of the “massive” blaze, Indian President Droupadi Murmu confirmed in a statement on X offering condolences. Photo courtesy of President of India's office
A massive fire at an arcade in a mall in India Saturday has left more than 20 people dead as officials work to determine the cause of the “massive” blaze, Indian President Droupadi Murmu confirmed in a statement on X offering condolences. Photo courtesy of President of India's office

May 25 (UPI) -- A massive fire at an arcade in a mall in India Saturday has left more than 20 people dead as officials work to determine the cause of the "massive" blaze.

Several children are reportedly among the dead after a fire broke out in the TRP Mall in the city of Rajkot, in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

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There are fears many more people could be dead or trapped under the wreckage. A rescue operation was still fully underway as of 10:03 a.m. IST Saturday. Some reports suggested at least 12 children were killed.

Photos show flames consuming parts of a building with plumes of thick black smoke shooting dozens of feet into the air as onlookers stand by helplessly.

Officials have not speculated on what may have started the fire, and police detained the arcade's owner, according to local news reports. Firefighters initially had difficulties locating the origin of the fire.

"The state government will provide Rs 4 lakh ($4,800 USD) to the families of the deceased and Rs 50 thousand ($600 USD) to the injured," the state's chief minister, Bhupendra Patel said in a post on X, translated by Google.

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"It is very important to ensure that such an incident does not happen again. Any kind of negligence will not be entertained in this event. In this regard, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed and assigned to investigate the entire incident."

The mall bills itself as an entertainment destination, offering bowling and other games in addition to the arcade.

"I am deeply anguished to learn of the loss of lives in a fire accident at a gaming zone in Rajkot, Gujarat," Indian President Droupadi Murmu said on X.

"My heart goes out to the families who have lost their near and dear ones including young children. I pray to the Almighty for the speedy recovery of those being rescued."

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