Ten newborn babies die in Maharashtra hospital fire; CM orders probe

There were 17 babies in the unit and seven were rescued by fire services personnel

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Representative image

Ten newborn babies died after a fire broke out in the Special Newborn Care Unit of a hospital in Maharashtra in the wee hours on Saturday, doctors said.

The infants were aged between one and three months. District civil surgeon Pramod Khandate said the fire broke out at the Bhandara district hospital around 1.30 am. There
were 17 babies in the unit and seven were rescued, he added.

A nurse first noticed smoke coming out of the neonatal section of the hospital and alerted doctors and other staff who reached there in five minutes, he said. Fire brigade personnel rescued seven babies from the inbound ward of the unit but could not save the 10 other
babies, he said.

Khandate said the ward where newborn babies are kept required a continuous supply of oxygen. “There were fire extinguishers and staff used them while trying to douse the
fire. There was too much smoke,” he added. Parents of the deceased children have been informed and the seven newborn babies rescued in the blaze have been
shifted to another ward, he said.


Patients from the ICU ward, dialysis wing, and labour ward (a room in a hospital set aside for childbirth) were also shifted to other wards safely, he added.

The cause of the fire in the four-storey building is yet to be ascertained but could have been the result of an electrical short circuit, he said.

CM orders probe

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday expressed grief over the deaths and ordered a probe. Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope soon after learning about the incident, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office. “The Chief Minister has ordered a probe into the entire incident. He spoke to the District Collector and Superintendent of Police and asked them to probe the fire,” the statement said.

Rahul consoles deaths

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condoled the deaths and appealed to the state government to provide all possible assistance to the families of the deceased and the injured.

“The unfortunate incident of fire at Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra is extremely tragic. My condolences to the families of the children who lost their lives,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “I appeal to Maharashtra government to provide every possible assistance to the families of the injured and deceased,” he said. The Maharashtra government is led by the Shiv Sena with the NCP and the Congress is part of the ruling dispensation.

(With inputs from Agencies)