Five people died and six others were injured after a fire broke out in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a private hospital in Gujarat’s Rajkot early on Friday.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered an inquiry into the incident and announced Rs 4 lakh ex gratia to next of kin of the deceased.
Police said the fire broke out in the ICU of the Uday Shivananda Hospital located in Anand Bungalow Chowk of Rajkot’s Mavdi area around 12:30 am on Friday and rapidly spread in the unit. “Five patients died and six others were injured. The fire was put out within half-an-hour,” Rajkot city police commissioner Manoj Agarwal told The Indian Express.
Five Covid-19 patients killed, 6 others suffer burn injuries after fire broke out in the ICU of Uday Shivanand Covid Hospital in Anand Bangla Chowk in Mavdi area of Rajkot city early this morning. Injured admitted to burns ward of government-run PDU Hospital @IndianExpress
— Gopal Kateshiya (@gopalreports) November 27, 2020
Bhikha Theba, the chief fire officer of Rajkot said that there were 33 patients in the hospital, including 11 patients in the ICU. “Three of them died on the spot while we managed to rescue the remaining 30 and shift them to Gokul hospital on Vidya Nagar Main Road and Kuvadva in ambulances with the help of doctors. The fire was put out within 30 to 45 minutes,” said Theba, adding, “It appeared the fire could have been started by electric short-circuit.”
Uday Shivanand Covid Hospital is run by Gokul Life Care Private Limited, a private entity which runs a chain of hospitals under the brand name Gokul.
Rajkot municipal commissioner Udit Agrawal said “Three of them died on the spot while two others died during treatment after being shifted to other hospitals. We are told there was sparking in the ICU, leading to the fire. The hospital staff initially tried to douse the fire but as it spread, they informed the fire services,” said Agrawal.
The police commissioner said that the cause of the deaths of those killed would be known only after post-mortem are conducted and their reports are available, and said, “Covid-19 is also a condition and they were undergoing treatment for that disease.” He added that condition of the injured was reported to be stable.
Agarwal further said that hospital staff had not suffered any major injury in the incident.
Malaviya Nagar police inspector KN Bhukan said that a total of 11 patients were undergoing Covid-19 treatment in the ICU. “The injured six have been admitted to other facilities of Gokul hospital on Vidya Nagar Main Road and in Kuvadva,” said Bhukan, adding the bodies of the five who were killed in the incident have been sent to the state government-run Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Hospital in the city for post-mortem.
Rajkot mayor Bina Acharya, who had rushed to the hospital after the fire broke out, said the hospital had due fire clearance and that firefighting equipment were in place. “It had fire NOC and all the firefighting equipment. A bigger loss of lives has been prevented. I thank the firefighters for tackling the situation deftly and helping shift patients to Gokul Hospital,” she said.