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13 dead in fire at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Virar

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In an unfortunate incident, 13 people lost their lives after a fire broke out at Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Mumbai’s Virar on Friday. The deceased, five women and eight men, were all COVID-19 patients availing treatment at the hospital.

Notably, 90 patients were availing treatment at the hospital. Of this, 18 were in the intensive care unit when the fire broke out after a blast in the AC unit, the hospital’s CEO Dr. Dilip Jain said.

The fire started around 3.15 am on the second floor of the private COVID hospital due to short-circuit in the air conditioner in the intensive care unit (ICU). It was extinguished by 5.30 in the morning.

District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam said that the Virar hospital fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit.

The fire department has confirmed that there were 18 COVID patients in the ICU. The five survivors have been shifted elsewhere. Relatives of the deceased reached the hospital soon after hearing of the incident and demanded that stringent action be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.

Following the incident, visuals showed the smoke-filled ICU in disarray after the blaze, with the ceiling falling off in some places, beds and other furniture strewn around and kin of the deceased wailing outside the hospital.

Maharashtra govt orders probe

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Thackeray spoke to concerned officials and directed them to focus on extinguishing the fire completely and ensuring treatment of other patients continues uninterrupted.

He has also directed the administration to immediately inquire whether the hospital was adequately equipped in terms of fire safety.

Also Read: India’s daily surge in COVID-19 cases cross 3.32 lakh, highest in the world since pandemic began

The Maharashtra government has also announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for those injured.

PM Modi condoles death

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and defence minister Rajnath Singh were among many who condoled the unfortunate deaths in the incident.

The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted, “The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon.”

“PM Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the hospital fire in Virar, Maharashtra. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured,” the PMO tweeted.

Harsh Vardhan said, “Disturbed by the heartbreaking news of multiple deaths due to a fire at the Vijay Vallabh hospital in Maharashtra’s Virar. May God give peace to the departed souls and their families the strength to bear this trauma. I pray all the injured make speedy recoveries.”

Rahul Gandhi said, “Tragic news has been received from Vijay Vallabh Covid centre in Virar about the death of patients due to a fire. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims. I appeal to the State government and Congress workers to provide all necessary assistance.”

Rajnath Singh said, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to tragic fire at a Hospital in Palghar, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

 

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