At least 11 killed in fire at Indian hospital COVID ward

An official told New Delhi Television that about 17 patients were in the Maharashtra ward when the fire broke out.

People inspect damage after fire in COVID-19 ward at hospital in Ahmednagar [AP Photo]

At least 11 patients have died after a fire broke out in a hospital’s COVID-19 ward in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, officials said.

An official told New Delhi Television that around 17 patients were in the ward in the city of Ahmednagar when the fire broke out. The remaining patients have been moved to a COVID-19 ward in another hospital, district magistrate Rajendra Bhosle said.

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While the fire has since been brought under control, the cause was not immediately clear, he added, saying officials will carry out an investigation.

The former Chief Minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, took to Twitter to call for “strict action” against those responsible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to offer condolences to the bereaved, adding, “may the injured recover at the earliest”.

The incident is the latest in a string of deadly fires in hospitals across the country.

In May, when the country was battling a devastating surge in coronavirus cases, a fire in a COVID-19 ward in western India killed 16 patients.

That fire, which sparked in Patel Welfare Hospital in Baruch city, also killed two staff members, authorities said.

A month before that, 13 people were killed when another fire tore through an intensive care unit in the outskirts of Mumbai.

Past incidents have been blamed on poor maintenance of machines, equipment malfunctions, and a lack of proper firefighting equipment.

India experienced an enormous wave of COVID-19 infections in early 2021, overwhelming hospitals across the country.

Cases have since dropped amid a widespread vaccination campaign.

Source: News Agencies