Eight Covid-19 patients died in a fire that broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in Ahmedabad early yesterday, officials said as they launched a probe into the incident.
Police stopped angry relatives from entering the Shrey Hospital in Gujarat after the tragedy which, according to emergency services, was caused by a medical staff member’s personal protective equipment (PPE) catching alight.
“A staffer whose PPE caught fire ran out of the ward to douse it but the fire spread rapidly to the whole ward,” said Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services.
“Five men and three women, who were undergoing treatment for the novel coronavirus were not in a position to escape... they died due to smoke and heat caused by the fire,” he said.
“Looking at the primary information, it is assumed that the fire broke out due to a short circuit. Our officials are investigating the incident with the help of experts. The bodies of the victims are being sent for the post-mortem,” a senior police official of the Navrangpura police station added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday condoled the loss of lives.
“Saddened by the tragic hospital fire. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” tweeted PM Modi.
He also spoke to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and mayor Bijal Patel regarding the situation and said that the administration is providing all possible assistance to the affected.
The Prime Minister’s Office has announced a compensation of Rs200,000 each from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to the kin of the dead. “Rs50,000 each would be given to those injured due to the hospital fire,” PMO said in a statement.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also took to the micro-blogging website to express grief at the incident and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured.
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