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Shocking: Ten infants die in fire at Maharashtra hospital; “heart wrenching”, says PM

In a tragic incident, ten newborn babies were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a child care unit of a hospital in Maharashtra’s Bhandara in the wee hours of Saturday, reports said.

The mishap took place at the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of Bhandara District General Hospital at 2 am. The infants were aged between a month and three months, reports quoting a doctor said.

 

There were 17 babies in the unit of whom seven could be rescued from the ‘inbound ward’ of the unit, PTI quoted district civil surgeon Pramod Khandate as saying.

A nurse had informed about the blaze to doctors and other staff after noticing smoke coming out from the neonatal section of the hospital.

Khandate said the ward where newborn babies are kept requires a continuous supply of oxygen. “There were fire extinguishers and staff used them while trying to douse the fire. There was too much smoke,” he said.

The cause of the blaze in the four-storeyed building is yet to be ascertained but could have been caused due to an electrical short circuit, he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed grief over the death of newborn babies and ordered a probe.

Thackeray also spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope soon after learning about the incident which occurred in the child care unit in the hospital, the Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“The Chief Minister has ordered a probe in the entire incident. He spoke to the district collector and police superintendent and asked them to probe the fire,” the statement read.

The state government also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the “heart-wrenching tragedy” and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled the death of infants and appealed to the state government to provide all possible assistance to the families of the deceased and the injured.

“The unfortunate incident of fire at Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra is extremely tragic. My condolences to the families of the children who lost their lives,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

“I appeal to Maha Govt to provide every possible assistance to the families of the injured & deceased,” he said.