Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said the ICU had been newly built to treat Covid patients, and the fact that a fire had broken out was a “very serious issue”
Ahmednagar: Ten patients have died after a fire broke out in the ICU (intensive care unit) of the Civil Hospital in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar at around 11 am today. Another patient has been seriously injured.
The fire was in the hospital’s COVID-19 ward, in which 17 patients had been admitted.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the tragedy.
The remaining patients have been shifted to a Covid ward in another hospital, District Collector Dr Rajendra Bhosle told reporters, adding that a ‘fire audit’ of the structure had been conducted.
The cause of the blaze, which has now been extinguished, is as yet unknown, but preliminary investigations by the fire department suggest it started due to an electrical short circuit, Dr Bhosle said.
Visuals show smoke pouring out of the lower floors of the hospital. Others show some people slowly re-entering the ward after the fire was put out, with soot-stained walls and broken ceiling panels visible.
Other videos show the heart-breaking sight of doctors desperately trying to revive some of those caught in the fire, and those fortunate to be shifted out can be seen waiting in the courtyard.
An official inquiry will take place, the senior government official told reporters.
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said the ICU had been newly built for the express purpose of treating coronavirus patients, and the fact that a fire had broken out was a “very serious issue”.
Mr Malik said all hospitals had been asked to undertake a ‘fire audit’ and that the Ahmednagar Civil Hospital’s report in this regard would be checked, and a thorough investigation would take place.
The minister also said Chief Minister Thackeray extended his condolences to the families of those who had died, and assured them of every possible support.
Former Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis tweeted calling for “strict action against all responsible people”.
“Very shocking and disturbing news from Ahmednagar. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones… Praying for speedy recovery of the injured. In-depth inquiry should be conducted & strict action against all responsible people!” he tweeted.
NCP leader Sangram Jagtap, who represents the Ahmednagar Assembly seat also expressed sorrow and called for the victims’ families to get compensation.
“Today, in the Ahmednagar Civil Hospital, there was a fire… many people lost their lives. Definitely an inquiry will take place, but it must be a (state) government committee and not a local (zilla) committee. We must find out how the fire started and who was responsible,” he told reporters.