Ten newborn babies were killed inside a blazing maternity unit after after a fire tore through a maternity unit following a series of hospital fires in India.
The blaze broke out in the neonatal unit at the Bhandara district hospital in Maharashtra in the early hours this morning.
Staff were able to rescue seven of the infants but were beaten back before they could get to the ten others, senior doctor Pramod Khandate confirmed.
The latest fire is one of several in the past year and has prompted an urgent inquiry into the latest disaster, raising doubts about safety in Indian hospitals.
Ten newborn babies died as a fire tore through the maternity unit at the Bhandara district hospital in Maharashtra, India. Pictured: Police officers investigate the scene
The fire broke out in the neonatal unit at the hospital in the early hours this morning and staff were only able to rescue seven of the infants
Despite efforts to rescue all the babies, staff were beaten back before they could get to the ten others. Pictured: Fire truck at the scene where the fire broke out
All of those who died in today’s blaze were aged between a few days and three months, according to reports.
‘The cause of the fire is not known yet but our staff extinguished the fire as soon as they could. The smoke led to the babies suffocating,’ Khandate said.
Nurses on duty noticed a fire coming from the hospital’s neonatal unit and raised the alarm.
The fire brigade stopped the blaze from spreading to other parts of the hospital and other patients were moved to safety.
‘Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called the deaths ‘extremely tragic’.
Authorities ordered an immediate inquiry into the latest disaster. It comes as the safety of Indian hospitals has been called into question after a series of fires in recent months.
The Supreme Court called for a report on safety in coronavirus hospitals because of the incidents.
The latest fire is one of several in the past year and has prompted an urgent inquiry into the latest disaster, raising doubts about safety in Indian hospitals. Pictured: Media and police personnel gather outside the hospital
All of those who died in today’s blaze were aged between a few days and three months. Pictured: Police outside the hospital which was ablaze in the early hours
Nurses on duty this morning noticed a fire coming from the hospital’s neonatal unit and raised the alarm but sadly not all the patients could be saved
Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.
A fire broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in India’s western city of Ahmedabad in August
Eight coronavirus patients who were undergoing treatment and not in a position to escape died as a result of smoke and heat caused by the fire.
Firefighters and 15 fire engines contained the fire to the intensive care unit at Shrey Hospital and it was extinguished in half an hour.
As a result of the inferno, 35 patients were shifted to other hospitals. One paramedic was treated for burns received while trying to douse the flames.
Rajiv Kumar Gupta, a Gujarat state government official, told reporters that an electrical short-circuit appeared to be the cause of the fire in the city of Ahmedabad.
When they arrived, fire fighters stopped this morning’s blaze from spreading to other parts of the hospital and other patients were moved to safety. Pictured: A policeman stands guard outside the Bhandara District General Hospital
Authorities ordered an immediate inquiry into the latest disaster, calling into question the safety of Indian hospitals. Pictured: Police personnel stand outside the maternity unit in Maharashtra
Another five Covid-19 patients died in a blaze in a clinic in Rajkot in November, with a further 28 injured.
Fire engines restricted the blaze to one floor of the hospital and extinguished it within 30 minutes.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the fire started in the intensive care unit of Uday Shivanand Hospital that was treating 33 coronavirus patients.
More than 90 people also died in an inferno in a Kolkata hospital in 2011.
Many of the elderly patients were killed after they were trapped by smoke as the fire took hold in the multi-storey building.
Medical staff at the hospital abandoned their patients and fled for safety, government officials were reported as saying.
The blaze started in the AMRI Hospital’s basement, where hospital chemicals and medical waste were stored, but quickly spread to the upper floors.
More than 90 people also died in an inferno in a Kolkata hospital in 2011. Pictured: People attend to a patient surrounded by smoke in the Kolkata fire
The blaze started in the AMRI Hospital’s basement, where hospital chemicals and medical waste were stored
Many of the elderly patients were killed after they were trapped by smoke as the fire took hold in the multi-storey building
Firefighters had to smash the windows and used rope and hydraulic ladders to rescue people trapped on the first and second floor of the building, West Bengal state minister Sirhad Hakeem said.
Television images showed rescuers taking several patients on stretchers and wheelchairs to a nearby hospital.
As rescuers scrambled to evacuate survivors, police filed a case against the hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata for violating safety procedures and top government officials vowed to hold the hospital accountable for the tragedy.
Local people climbed into the hospital compound to rescue patients before fire engines arrived, the BBC reported.
The narrow streets surrounding the home made it difficult for the rescue service to arrive quickly.
West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said many of the patients who died had suffocated on fumes.