Fire at children’s hospital kills seven newborns in India’s capital

The owner of the hospital in Delhi has fled, police said, adding that legal action is being taken against the individual.

People stand in front of a baby care hospital where several newborns died in a fire, in New Delhi, India
People stand in front of a baby care hospital where several newborns died in a fire, in New Delhi, India [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

At least seven infants have been killed in a fire at a children’s hospital in India’s capital, says a fire service officer.

Rescuers carried 12 newborns from the hospital to another facility, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation, fire officer Atul Garg said on Sunday.

Five others survived and are being treated for smoke inhalation, he added.

The fire broke out late on Saturday night in the Baby Care Hospital in New Delhi’s Vivek Vihar area.

A view of damaged Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) ward of a baby care hospital where several newborns died in a fire
A view of the damaged neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) ward of the hospital [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Television footage showed firefighters attempting to douse the fire on the first floor of the hospital. Suresh Kumar, another fire officer, said the fire was extinguished in about an hour and its cause was being investigated.

“All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people,” said police officer Surendra Choudhary in a statement, adding that when they reached the hospital, several of the infants were dead.

The owner of the children’s hospital has fled, police said, with Choudhary adding that legal action is being taken against the individual, who is yet to be identified.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported quoting Garg that 14 fire trucks were put to battle the blaze. “The fire spread too fast due to a blast in an oxygen cylinder,” he said.

The bodies of the dead infants have been transferred to New Delhi’s GTB Hospital for postmortem examination, The Indian Express daily reported.

Vinod Kumar cries outside a hospital morgue after his newborn child went missing following a fire at a baby care hospital,
Vinod Kumar cries outside a hospital morgue after his newborn child went missing following the fire at the children’s hospital in New Delhi [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the incident “heartbreaking”.

“We all stand with those who lost their innocent children in this accident,” he said on X. “The causes of the incident are being investigated, and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared.”

The incident came hours after more than two dozen people, including at least nine children, were killed in a big fire at a crowded amusement park in Rajkot in the western state of Gujarat. Two people were arrested in connection with the incident, local media reports said.

Fires are common in India, where builders and residents often flout building laws and safety codes.

Source: News Agencies