Officials of the Mumbai Fire Brigade said that the fire was reported on the fourteenth floor of the Hansa Heritage building on Mathuradas Road in Kandivali (West) at around 8.30 pm on Saturday.
An official told that about 17 patients were in the Maharashtra ward when the fire broke out. At least 11 patients have died after a fire broke out in a hospital’s COVID-19 ward in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, officials said. It is reported that around 17 patients were in the ward in the city of Ahmednagar when the fire broke out. The remaining patients have been moved to a COVID-19 ward in another hospital, district magistrate Rajendra Bhosle said.
While the fire has since been brought under control, the cause was not immediately clear, he added, saying officials will carry out an investigation.
The former Chief Minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, took to Twitter to call for “strict action” against those responsible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to offer condolences to the bereaved, adding, “may the injured recover at the earliest”.
The incident is the latest in a string of deadly fires in hospitals across the country.
In May, when the country was battling a devastating surge in coronavirus cases, a fire in a COVID-19 ward in western India killed 16 patients. That fire, which sparked in Patel Welfare Hospital in Baruch city, also killed two staff members, authorities said.
A month before that, 13 people were killed when another fire tore through an intensive care unit in the outskirts of Mumbai. Past incidents have been blamed on poor maintenance of machines, equipment malfunctions, and a lack of proper firefighting equipment. India experienced an enormous wave of COVID-19 infections in early 2021, overwhelming hospitals across the country.
Cases have since dropped amid a widespread vaccination campaign.
As Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered a probe and strict action against those found negligent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the loss of lives.
In a Twitter post, Modi said: “Anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”
Ahmednagar district collector Rajendra Bhosale told media persons that around 10.30 am, fire was reported in a Covid ward in the new building of the civil hospital.
Among the 11 dead were Sitaram Dagdu Jadhav (83) of Bakhtapur, Shevgaon; Bhivaji Sadashiv Pawar ((80) of Kinhi village in Parner; Ramkisan Vitthal Harpude (70) of Maka village in Nevasa; Kondabai Madhukar Kadam (70) of Kedgaon; Chababi Ahmed Sayyad (65) of Shendi; Satyabhama Shivaji Ghodchaure (65) of Telkudgaon in Nevasa; Kadubal Gangadhar Khatik (65) of Patharvala in Nevasa; Asrabai Govind Nangare (58) of Shevgaon; Deepak Vishwanath Jagdale (37) of Sangamner.
After the fire was reported, the Ahmednagar fire brigade rushed three fire tenders and water tankers. Fire brigade personnel brought the situation under control after 45 minutes of fire-fighting.
Superintendent of Police Manoj Patil, who reached the civil hospital with police officers and personnel, said: “Ten persons have lost their lives (the 11th death was reported later) in the fire. Most are aged above 60 while one of them is in his late 30s. It is too early to comment on the exact cause of the fire. A thorough probe will be conducted into the sequence of events leading to the fire and causes behind it.”
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope described the incident as “extremely unfortunate”.
“We have declared financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for each family,” Tope told media.
“Initial reports indicate that the fire was caused due to a short-circuit in the intensive care unit. The unit was set up a year ago and an inquiry will be conducted by a team led by the Divisional Commissioner. The team will include fire safety experts and others from the electrical division,” he said.