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8 Killed in Covid Hospital Fire in Mumbai

8 Killed in Covid Hospital Fire in Mumbai

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MUMBAI, Mar 26: At least 10 persons were killed in a devastating fire in a Covid-19 special hospital located in a shopping mall in Bhandup locality in Mumbai on Friday while 70 other patients were rescued and shifted to safety.

The hospital authorities later said eight persons had died to burn injuries while two others, whose bodies were also recovered along with the burnt patients had died due to Covid before the fire broke out.

The chief minister Udhhav Thackeray who visited the hospital, apologized to the relatives of the fire victims while the Mumbai mayor Kishori  Pednekar said it was the first time she had seen a hospital in a shopping mall.

The mayor said it was a very serious situation and a detailed probe into the incident would be carried out to ascertain the cause of the fire outbreak. “This is a very serious situation. First time I have seen a hospital in a mall. Civic body will conduct investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire and action will be taken accordingly,” Pednekar said.

The Sunrise hospital is housed on the third floor of “Dreams Mall” in Bhandup. The fire, which was classified as ‘Level 4’, broke out on the first floor of the Mall, a three-storey building, at around 12.30 am and soon reached up to the third floor.

The hospital said its fire alarms were set off by the smoke, following which all patients were evacuated from the building to a fire refuge area.

Officials said the eight patients suffered asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation and burn injuries.

Sunrise Hospital CEO Hafeez Rehman said some patients were missing following the incident, and efforts were underway to identify and find them. He also added that the families of the deceased who died of Covid-19 had been informed of their deaths prior to the fire.

Following the incident, 30 patients were shifted to Mulund Jumbo centre, a Covid-19 treatment facility, where four are in serious condition — two patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and two are on oxygen support. The other patients were admitted to different hospitals, while non-Covid patients were shifted to Fortis Hospital.

In a statement, Sunrise Hospital said the hospital was started in “exceptional circumstances of Covid last year”, and has helped in saving many patients from Covid deaths. “It is functioning with all due compliance like fire licence, nursing home licence etc .The hospital staff did a fantastic job in safely evacuating patients on wheel chairs and beds to the refuge areas and by following the fire drills,” it added.

Thackeray visited the mall on Friday to take stock of the situation. “An inquiry will be ordered. If there is any negligence or delay in it, it will be investigated and action will be taken against those who are responsible,” Thackeray said. He also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next kin of each deceased.

The chief minister said all efforts were made to rescue the patients admitted at the hospital. However, it took some time to evacuate those who were on ventilators. “Unfortunately, they died,” he said.

He said that in the recent past he had given instructions to carry out structural and fire audits of COVID-19 care centres and field hospitals in his state. “I had asked (the authorities) to ensure such incidents do not occur. Still, unfortunately, this has taken place. I apologise to the kin of those who died in the incident,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in the incident. “Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Mumbai. I pray that the injured recover soon,” he said.

As many as 14 fire engines and 10 jumbo water tankers were pressed into action after the fire was reported.

The fire comes in the wake of a surge of Covid-19 cases in the city. Mumbai reported 5,504 cases on Thursday and 14 deaths, taking the total number of positive cases in the city to 3,80,146 and toll to 11,623. Due to the rising cases, BMC has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals from the current 13,773 to 21,000 in the next 15 days besides scaling up testing.

Maharashtra reported 35,952 cases on the same day, and 111 deaths. The state’s caseload is 26 lakh, and toll is 53,795.

(Manas Dasgupta)

 

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