Disasters & Accidents

10 newborns killed in hospital fire in western India

New Delhi, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- At least 10 newborn children were killed on Saturday while seven others were rescued alive after a fire broke out at a hospital in India’s western state of Maharashtra, with the causes of the blaze yet to be clear.

On-duty staff at the district hospital in Bhandara raised the alarm at around 1.30 am after seeing smoke coming out of the fourth floor of the hospital, where the Special Newborn Care Unit is situated, Civil Surgeon Pramod B Khandate told EFE.

“The staff immediately alerted the authorities and tried to rescue the babies,” said Khandate, confirming that 10 of the newborns had died in the accident, while seven others were rescued.

The fire had been brought under control as the fire brigade reached on the spot within 10-15 minutes, said the doctor, without specifying the reason behind the accident.

“It is a technical issue that is being looked into,” said Khandate, although acknowledging that a short circuit cannot be ruled out as the hospital building was “very old, around 25-30 years.”

Condolences poured in the media and social networks as the news of the tragedy spread, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressing shock and sadness over the incident.

“Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope the injured recover as early as possible,” Modi tweeted.

Fires, building collapses and other accidents are common in India owing to the often precarious condition of infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, factors that are aggravated by corruption and illegal practices within the construction sector.

In August at least 10 patients suffering from the new coronavirus died in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh after a fire broke out at a hotel turned into a hospital where they were being treated, four days after a similar incident killed 8 people in the western state of Gujarat. EFE-EPA

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