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Monday, May 17, 2021

16 Covid-19 patients, 2 nurses die in fire at Gujarat hospital; PM Modi expresses condolences

Chief minister Vijay Rupani announces ex-gratia aid of Rs 4 lakh for kin of victims.

Written by Kamal Saiyed | Surat |
Updated: May 1, 2021 12:22:09 pm
The remains after the fire at The Welfare Hospital in Bharuch. (Express File Photo)

At least sixteen Covid-19 patients and two nurses were killed after a fire broke out at the ICU of The Welfare Hospital in Bharuch district on Saturday.

Locals broke the glass windows and rescued the other patients. Sources said there were around 27 patients in the ICU ward at the time of the fire. They were shifted to nearby private hospitals.

Chief minister Vijay Rupani appointed two senior bureaucrats — Additional Chief Secretary (labour and employment) Vipul Mittra and Commissioner (municipalities) Rajkumar Beniwal — to rush to Bharuch for an inquiry. Rupani said a judicial probe would also be initiated.

An ex-gratia aid of Rs 4 lakh would be given to each of the next of kin of the victims from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Rupani said, while expressing grief over the incident.

Policemen at the site of the fire in Bharuch on Saturday. (Express Photo: Bhupendra Rana)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, expressed his condolences, saying, “Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Bharuch. Condolences to the bereaved families.”

Since last year, the hospital on the Jambusar bypass is being used to treat Covid-19 patients of the district.

Fire department sources said there were around 27 Covid patients in the ICU, some on ventilators. The fire broke out at around 1 am on Saturday.

Fire department officials believed that a short circuit might have led to the blaze when the patients were sleeping. After noticing the fire, the hospital staff tried to rescue the patients who were on ventilators. The locals, after hearing about the incident, also rushed to the spot to help.

Fire tenders, too, reached immediately and controlled the blaze within half-an-hour.

The rescued patients were rushed to private hospitals in Vaghra and Jambusar among other areas.

Bharuch district collector M D Modiya, Bharuch district superintendent of police Rajendrasinh Chudasma and political leaders also reached the spot after learning about the incident.

Talking to The Indian Express, Bharuch SP Rajendrasinh Chudasma said, “16 patients and 2 nurses died in the incident. The fire was brought under control before it could spread to other areas. A probe in being initiated to ascertain the reason behind the fire.”

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