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Maharashtra: 10 premature babies killed in Bhandara district hospital fire

Maharashtra: 10 premature babies killed in Bhandara district hospital fire

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has ordered a detailed inquiry into the fire at the Bhandara district hospital that led to the deaths of 10 infants, and an immediate audit of all neonatal units in hospitals across the state.

All infants that were killed in the blaze were between a month and three-months in age.

"The fire broke out at 2 am (2030 GMT) today", said Pramod Khandate, civil surgeon at Bhandara District General Hospital in the western state. Fire brigade personnel rescued seven babies from the "inbound ward" of the unit.

Nurses of duty first noticed smoke coming out from the neonatal care unit, according to reports, and raised alarm.

The babies in the in-born ward who were rescued were those that were born in the hospital and needed special care in the ICU, while the 10 babies that could not be saved in out-born were those born in other hospitals in the taluka and were brought in for special care due to birth complications.

The cause of the fire in the four-storeyed building is yet to be ascertained but could have been the result of an electrical short circuit, he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to state Health Minister Rajesh Tope and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The deputy chief minister said the state government has made a decision to give ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased infants.

There were 17 babies in the unit and seven were rescued, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra expressed his grief over the incident, saying, "Heart-wrenching tragedy where we have lost precious young lives".

In a tweet, Mr Modi said his thoughts were with the bereaved families.

The heart-wrenching episode left many shocked, with Shah hoping that the bereaved families find the strength to bear this loss. "Convey my deepest condolences to the families of the innocent children who lost their lives".

Police officers investigate the scene after a fire broke out at District General Hospital in Bhandara, about 70 kilometres from Nagpur, India, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. "It is a very painful accident".