Thirteen COVID-19 patients died in a blaze at the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Friday, police said. The fire broke out in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar shortly after 3 am, an official said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 5.20 am, he added.
There were 17 patients in the ICU when the fire broke out, the official said. Four patients were rescued and shifted to other hospitals in the area, he added. Virar is over 50 km from Mumbai. The cause of the fire is not known and further investigations are underway, said an official. More details are awaited.
The tragedy comes two days after 22 COVID-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik.
District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam told PTI that the Virar hospital fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit. 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.
Ten infants were killed in a fire that broke out at a special newborn care unit of the Bhandara district hospital in Maharashtra on January 9. Seventeen infants, aged one to three months, were admitted to the ward at the time of the tragedy.
A fire broke out in Mumbai's Dreams Mall, which housed a COVID-designated hospital on its third floor, in the intervening night of March 25 and 26. The fire, which raged for over 40 hours, claimed nine lives, including those of patients on ventilator support.