Fire kills coronavirus patients in Indian hospital

An investigation has been launched to find out the cause of the fire at the hospital in Ahmedabad in Gujarat state.

Police stopped angry relatives from entering the hospital after the tragedy [Reuters]
Police stopped angry relatives from entering the hospital after the tragedy [Reuters]

At least eight coronavirus patients died in a fire that broke out in an intensive care unit at a hospital in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad early on Thursday, officials said.

It took firefighters half an hour to contain the blaze at Shrey Hospital in Ahmadabad, officer Yusuf Khan told AP news agency. Thirty-five patients had been moved to other hospitals, he said.

The blaze broke out at approximately 3am at the hospital in the Navrangpura neighbourhood, ndtv.com reported.

An investigation has been launched to find out the cause of the fire.

Police stopped angry relatives from entering the hospital after the tragedy which, according to emergency services, was caused by a medical staff member’s personal protective equipment (PPE) catching fire.

“A staffer whose PPE caught fire ran out of the ward to douse it, but the fire spread rapidly to the whole ward,” said Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services.

“Saddened by the tragic hospital fire in Ahmedabad. Condolences to the bereaved families… Administration is providing all possible assistance to the affected,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

A compensation of Rs 200,000 ($2,672) each would be given to the relatives of victims, the prime minister tweeted.

Gujarat, Modi’s home state, is among the states worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 65,000 cases so far.

With 1.9 million cases, India is the third-worst hit country by COVID-19. Nearly 40,000 people have died due to the disease, which originated in China last December.

Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.

Source : News Agencies

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