New Delhi, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- At least 10 people died Friday in a massive fire that engulfed a shopping mall housing a hospital to treat Covid-19 patients in India’s financial hub of Mumbai, officials said.
Some 70 people were evacuated from the hospital located on the top floor of the complex in the heart of the city, one of the most crowded in the world.
The fire began shortly after midnight.
The authorities were still ascertaining the cause amid rising worries over the growing number of Covid-19 infections in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai.
“The death toll in the fire at Dreams Mall, Bhandup West, has gone up to 10,” the city’s municipal corporation said in a tweet.
“We are deeply aggrieved by the loss of so many precious lives. Mumbai fire brigade’s search and rescue operation is on and the patients have been evacuated and sent in good care.”
It was not immediately known if any of the deceased were coronavirus patients.
A hospital statement said the fire began on the first floor of the mall, and the smoke reached up to the health facility located on the top floor.
“All fire alarms beeped and hence all patients were safely evacuated to the fire refuge area.”
The hospital initially said there were no casualties and had recovered the bodies of two patients who had died of Covid-19.
The city struggles with an alarming spike in the daily coronavirus infections as India remains gripped by the second wave of the virus outbreak.
On Friday, India recorded 59,118 new cases and 257 deaths, which is the highest since late October.
Maharashtra logged most of the cases with 35,952 new infections and 111 deaths in the last 24 hours.
India, the third-worst hit nation after the United States and Brazil, has an overall tally of more than 11.8 million cases. EFE-EPA