Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editors: Naman Shah, Meghna Prakash
A fire at the Vijay Vallabh Hospital, a COVID-care facility, in Virar, Maharashtra’s Palghar, on early Friday morning, 23 April, claimed the lives of at least 15 patients, reported ANI, citing, Dr Kishor Gawas, Health Department, Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation
There were 17 COVID patients in the ICU. The surviving patients under critical care have been moved to nearby hospitals in Mumbai. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered an enquiry into the incident.
The fire broke out at 3.13 am on the second floor ICU Ward of the four-storeyed hospital in Tirupati Nagar, and as per Virar Fire Brigade who spoke to IANS, the fire spread quickly to other wards. It was brought under control by three fire tenders.
Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation carried out fire fighting operations, subduing the fire by 5.50 am, as per Deccan Herald.
DCP Sanjay Patil has informed ANI that a case has been registered under IPC Sec 304, 337, 338 and 34 at Arnala Police Station, against staff, management, and a doctor in the Virar hospital fire incident.
The cause of the fire is being speculated to be an AC short-circuit that started in the ICU and spread quickly to other wards of the hospital.
A patient who was witness to the incident told reporters that he saw bodies lying on the ventilator, and said the hospital is 100 percent responsible and didn’t offer him the kind of service they expected.
CEO of the hospital Dilip Shah told local reporters that there were 90 patients in the hospital. He confirmed that the fire started in the ICU ward, which had the most critical patients. He added that 21 patients, including those in critical condition, had been shifted to another hospital.
Reactions to the Incident
“This is a big accident. Those found responsible won’t be spared. The government will provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those who lost their lives,” said Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde to ANI, who visited the site.
The relief work is being reviewed by local MLAs – Hitendra Thakur (Vasai) and his son Kshitij Thakur (Nalasopara) – reported Deccan Herald.
Devendra Fadnavis offered his condolences and asked for an in-depth inquiry and strong action to be taken against those responsible.
However, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope downplayed the incident saying it was “not national news,” reported ANI.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF for the next of kin of those killed by the hospital fire. Those seriously injured will be compensated with Rs 50,000.
PM Modi also offered his condolences to the family of the deceased.
Oxygen Tanker Leak in Maharashtra
This incident comes two days after at least 24 COVID-19 patients died reportedly due to low oxygen supply after an oxygen-tanker leak on Wednesday, 21 April, outside Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra. The incident disrupted oxygen supply for 30 minutes.
Police on Thursday registered an FIR against unnamed persons in connection with the incident.
All those who died in the incident were reportedly COVID-19 patients on ventilators and required a constant supply of oxygen. The hospital was housing approximately 170 patients.
Maharashtra on Wednesday, 21 April, reported 67,468 new COVID-19 cases and the highest number of fatalities so far at 568. As many as 54,985 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours. The total case tally now stands at 40,27,827 with 6,95,747 active cases.
(This is a developing story, more updates will be added soon)
. Read more on Hot News by The Quint.15 Dead in Maha COVID Hospital Fire, PM Announces CompensationFirst RORO Oxygen Express Arrives in Maharashtra Amid COVID Surge . Read more on Hot News by The Quint.