Four infants were killed after a fire swept through the special newborn care unit (SNCU) of Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital in Bhopal on Monday night.
The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered a high-level probe into the incident.
Describing the situation as “very scary”, Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said a short circuit may have caused the fire.
According to an official, the blaze started on the third floor of the hospital, which houses the ICU.
“Four children died in the fire that broke out in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) ward probably due to a short circuit,” Sarang said.
“We reached the spot along with others soon after getting information about the incident. It was dark inside the ward. We shifted the children to the adjacent ward,” he said.
The state government has announced a compensation of ₹4 lakh each for the kin of the deceased children.
According to Fatehgarh fire station in-charge Juber Khan, the fire broke, mostly due to a short circuit, out around 9 pm and around 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the flames.
Around 40 children were admitted to the SNCU. Of these, 36 were undergoing treatment in different wards.
In a tweet in Hindi, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the rescue operation was swift and the blaze is under control now. “A high-level probe has been ordered into the incident. The probe will be conducted by ACS (additional chief secretary), health and medical education, Mohammad Suleiman,” the chief minister said.
“We were unable to save three children who were already seriously injured in the fire incident which is very painful. The rescue operation was swift and the blaze is under control now, but unfortunately the lives of three children could not be saved,” the chief minister had said in an earlier tweet. Another child died later.
Videos of the incident show parents running around in search of their parents and some others blaming hospital staff for fleeing the spot instead of saving the newborns.
Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital is part of Hamidia Hospital, one of the biggest government medical facilities in the state.
Former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Kamal Nath termed the incident “very painful” and demanded stern action against those responsible.
In a tweet, state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma also expressed grief over the incident. He said he was praying for the speedy recovery of those injured.
(With inputs from agencies)