At least 10 people died when a fire broke out in the Covid-19 ICU ward at Ahmednagar district hospital on November 6, 2021. A total of 17 patients were admitted to the ICU.
According to Chief Fire Officer Shankar Misal, the local fire brigade station received news about the fire at 11 AM on Saturday morning. Two fire engines reached the place within six minutes and rescued the survivors and removed the bodies before the fire was extinguished. While the cause of the fire is yet to be confirmed, Misal said it could be due to a short circuit. District Collector Rajendra Bhosale ordered an inquiry into the accident.
“The ICU windows were shut air-tight. We broke it open and saved the patients but we don’t know what happened yet. However, there were CCTVs in the ward so we will know soon enough,” said Misal on Saturday afternoon, estimating the investigation to take at least three to four days.
Of the 10 patients who died, seven people were senior citizens, said the Indian Express. Later in the day, a 58-year-old who suffered severe burn injuries died as well. The state government announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the deceased’s families.
The people who survived the fire are: Lakshman Vitthal Thorat from Pathardi, Ramabai Panjaram Vidhate from Nevasa, Godabai Popat Sasane from Shrigonda, Yamuna Tatyaram Kamble from Kedgaon, Lakshman Asraji Savalkar from Shevgaon, Santosh Dharmaji Thokal from Beed and Ankush Kisan Pavar from Rahuri. All patients in the ward were recovering from Covid-19.
Earlier this year, at least 13 Covid-19 patients died due to a similar fire accident in an ICU unit of a hospital in Virar in Mumbai’s northern suburbs, and 10 people died after a fire broke out in Bhandup’s Sunrise Hospital, Dream Mall. After the latter incident, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had publicly apologised for the lapse in safety regulations. Similarly, 10 babies died in a hospital fire in Bhandara in January.
When asked about safety regulations in the district hospital, Misal said that he saw fire extinguishers in the area. At least one was used shortly after the fire was discovered and six fire extinguishers were readily available, Misal said after speaking to hospital authorities.
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