16 Covid-19 patients, two nurses killed in fire at hospital in Gujarat’s Bharuch

At least 18 persons, including 16 coronavirus patients and two nurses, were killed in a fire at a hospital early on Saturday morning in Bharuch district. Police said the reason behind the fire, prima facie, was a “short circuit” in the ICU ward.

Local police said the incident happened around midnight at Welfare Hospital. They said the staff tried to rescue patients, but it was too late. A large number of residents and relatives of patients rushed to the spot and broke open doors and windows to rescue those trapped inside. A gut-wrenching visual showed patients lying dead on beds and stretchers.

“A total of 18 persons died in the incident,” Bharuch superintendent of police Rajendrasinh Chudasama told DH. When asked about the primary reason behind the fire, he said “short circuit in ICU-1 ward”.

Locals said there were about 50 patients inside the four-storeyed private Covid-19 designated hospital. Hours after the incident, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, while expressing condolences, announced assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of victims. Rupani also ordered two IAS officers — additional chief secretary (labour) Vipul Mitra and Commissioner Municipalities Administration Rajkumar Beniwal — to reach Bharuch and investigate the case.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Bharuch. Condolences to the bereaved families.”

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, this is the fourth case of a fire in a Covid-19 hospital. Earlier, in Ahmedabad, eight patients died after a fire broke out in the ICU ward at Shrey Hospital in August 2020.

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