Maharashtra: 10 COVID-19 patients die in hospital fire in Ahmednagar; Uddhav Thackeray orders probe

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At least 10 COVID-19 patients died after a fire broke out at the ICU ward of the civil hospital in in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district on Saturday, said District Collector Rajendra Bhosale.

The incident happened at around 11 am in the hospital's COVID-19 ward, in which 17 patients had been admitted. Bhosale added that all the patients in the ICU were COVID-19 positive.

Initially, 10 had patients died in the fire while seven others were shifted. Out of the seven, one patient who was critical died later, reported the Indian Express.

"The cause of the blaze, which has now been extinguished, is as yet unknown, but
prima facie reports suggest that an electrical short-circuit may have started the fire," Bhosale added.

Ahmednagar SP Manoj Patil said, "Most of the deceased were above 60 while one of them was in the late 30s. It is too early to comment on the exact cause of the fire. A thorough probe will be conducted to determine the reason and the sequence of events leading to the fire."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences to the families of those who died. "Anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest," he tweeted.

Udhhav Thackeray orders probe

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the tragedy, and announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for kin of victims.

Thackeray directed the administration to ensure that those responsible for the mishap get strict punishment.

"On learning about the incident, Thackeray spoke to district guardian minister Hassan Mushrif and state chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, and asked them to ensure that other patients admitted there should get proper treatment without any disturbance," a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.

"The CM said the probe will be done by the district collector and the report should be submitted to the government," it said.

Former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis tweeted calling for "strict action against all responsible people".

Earlier this year, another major fire broke out in a shopping mall in Mumbai's Bhandup area on 26 March, in which 11 people died while scores were evacuated.

Eleven bodies were recovered and around 70 patients, who were being treated for the coronavirus - were moved to safety from the Dreams Mall Sunrise Hospital - which was located on the fourth floor of a shopping mall.

With inputs from agencies

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Maharashtra: 10 COVID-19 patients die in hospital fire in Ahmednagar; Uddhav Thackeray orders probe
Maharashtra: 10 COVID-19 patients die in hospital fire in Ahmednagar; Uddhav Thackeray orders probe
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