Gujarat: 16 killed in fire at Covid hospital in Bharuch, probe ordered
Gandhinagar, May 1, 2021
At least 16 Covid-19 patients died in a fire at a designated Covid hospital in Bharuch district of Gujarat in the early hours of Saturday.
About 60 patients were admitted in the Patel Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the ICU ward around midnight last night.
Fire officers said that the hospital, located on the Bharuch-Jambusar highway, around 190 km from Ahmedabad, did not have a no-objection certificate (NOC) for fire safety.
"Another building of the hospital has got the NOC from the fire department, but this building did not have an NOC," said Deepak Makhija, the Bharuch regional fire officer.
The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, according to the officials.
It is believed that around 16, including 14 Covid critical patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) were charred to death in the fire, caused most probably by a leaking oxygen cylinder. But there has been no confirmation on that.
The fire was controlled within an hour and around 50 patients were rescued and shifted to nearby hospitals, according to sources.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has expressed condolences and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to the next-of-kin of each of the deceased. He has also ordered an inquiry into the incident.
"I express my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the fire at Bharuch Hospital. The state government will provide assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each of the victims of the accident," Rupani said.
The Chief Minister has appointed two IAS officials, Vipul Mitra, Additional Chief Secretary, Labour and Employment, and Rajkumar Beniwal, Commissioner, Municipalities Administration, to probe the incident. Both the officials have been immediately sent to the place.
The Chief Minister said that the government is also thinking of appointing a judicial probe into the incident.