In a tragic incident, ten newborn babies were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a child care unit of a hospital in Bhandara, Maharashtra in the wee hours of 9 January.
The mishap took place at the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of Bhandara District General Hospital at 2 AM. The infants were aged between a month and three months, a doctor said.
There were 17 babies in the unit of whom seven could be rescued, news agency quoted district civil surgeon Pramod Khandate as saying.
Khandate said that fire brigade personnel rescued seven babies from the ‘inbound ward’ of the unit but could not save the 10 other babies.
A nurse had informed about the blaze to doctors and other staff after noticing smoke coming out from the neonatal section of the hospital.
Khandate said the ward where newborn babies are kept requires a continuous supply of oxygen. “There were fire extinguishers and staff used them while trying to douse the fire. There was too much smoke,” Khandate added.
Parents of the deceased babies have been informed about the incident and the seven infants rescued in the blaze have been shifted to another ward. Patients from the ICU ward, dialysis wing and labour ward (a room in a hospital set aside for childbirth) were shifted to other wards safely.
The cause of the blaze in the four-storeyed building is yet to be ascertained but could have been caused due to an electrical short circuit, he said.
CM Thackeray orders probe
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed grief over the death of newborn babies and ordered a probe.
Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope soon after learning about the incident which occurred in the child care unit in the hospital, the Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“The Chief Minister has ordered a probe in the entire incident. He spoke to the district collector and police superintendent and asked them to probe the fire,” the statement read.
The state government also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
PM Modi, Rahul condole death
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the heart-wrenching tragedy and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.