10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On

Dr Pramod Khandate, a civil surgeon said that prima facie, a short circuit seems to be the cause of the fire.

Updated
India
5 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

At least 10 newborn babies died and seven other were rescued as fire broke out in the neonatal ward of Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra at around 2 am on Saturday, 9 January. The infants admitted in the ward were reportedly in the age group of one to three months.

Dr Pramod Khandate, a civil surgeon at the hospital told reporters that prima facie, a short circuit seems to be the cause of the fire.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

How The Mishap Unfolded

Hospital surgeon Dr Pramod Khandate said that they tried their best to rescue and save the babies till the fire brigade arrived, but could not save them all.

“In the hospital’s Sick Newborn Care (SNC) unit, there were 7 inborn babies and 10 outborn babies admitted. Around 1.30 am, there was a sister on duty who saw smoke emanating from the outborn room. The sister hurriedly opened the door but there was so much smoke that she couldn’t see anything. She then started calling for help. All the officers and senior doctors, including me, rushed to the spot within 5 minutes. All of us rushed to rescue the babies from the ward – as many as we could – and the fire brigade arrived in the next five minutes,” Khandate said.

“The fire brigade rescued the seven inborn babies, but the outborn babies could not be saved. We tried our best to save them. Our whole staff was present here. We have confirmed the identities of the deceased babies with the help of the families. The seven babies are doing well. They have been shifted to another hospital,” he added.

Khandate further said that the patients in the ICU and the dialysis patients have been shifted to another building. The other pregnant women in the hospital and the labour room too have been shifted to another location.

“Prima facie, it looks like short circuit led to the fire,” Khandate said.

While three babies dies of burn injuries, seven babies died due to suffocation.

‘I Want My Baby’

Speaking to the media, the mother of a 12-day-old deceased infant said that she hasn’t received any information yet, but were told that an autopsy will be conducted.

“My daughter was 12 days old. The delivery happened in a different hospital. We were shifted here because she was underweight. She was in the ICU while I was in a room upstairs. I was told around 2 pm what happened. They’re saying they’ll be able to give me my daughter only after the post-mortem. I want my baby back.,” she said.
10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

‘Negligence Will be Probed’: CM Thackeray, Ministers Promise Action

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope, District Collector and the Superintendent of Police of Bhandara district. He has ordered a probe into the matter.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has expressed immense grief about the fire incident that took place at a neonatal ward of a hospital in Maharashtra's Bhandara district. He immediately directed Health Minister Rajesh Tope to order a probe into the incident. The chief minister also spoke to the District Magistrate and the police chief and directed them to investigate the matter,” the Maharashtra CMO said in a statement

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, has ordered a fire audit of child care units in all the hospitals in the state.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that those found responsible for the negligence will be punished. Deshmukh will reportedly fly to Nagpur to go to Bhandara later in the day.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families. He also said that an investigation into the matter is underway, and action will be taken against whoever is found responsible.

“Seven infants died due to suffocation, while three died due to the fire. Home Secretary has said that the bodies will be delivered to the families without conducting any post-mortem.”
Rajesh Tope, Health Minister

Meanwhile, speaking to the media at the spot, local MLA Narendra Bhondekar demanded the suspension of the Resident Medical Officer (RMO) and the nurse for negligence.

‘Charge the Ones Responsible With Murder’: Fadnavis

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis condoled the death of the infants and demanded “proper investigation” into the matter. He also demanded safety audits of all the hospitals across the state.

“This incident should be properly investigated and strict action be taken against the culprits,” Fadnavis had tweeted.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
Later, speaking to the reporters, Fadnavis called the incident “shameful” and said that the government should pay ex-gratia compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families and whoever is found responsible should be charged with murder.

“We demand a detailed probe and those responsible should be charged with murder. If there’s any more such hospitals in Maharashtra, then there should be a fire safety audit of those hospitals,” Fadnavis said.

PM Modi Home Minister Shah, Express Grief

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condole the death of the infants.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Source: Narendra Modi/Twitter)

Home Minister Amit Shah, too, tweeted about the fire incident and condoled the death of the infants.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Source: Amit Shah/Twitter)

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also tweeted about the tragic incident.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Source: Smriti Irani/Twitter)
10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Source: Nirmala Sitharaman/Twitter)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the bereaved families.

10 Infants Killed in Maharashtra Hospital Fire, Investigation On
(Source: Rahul Gandhi/Twitter)

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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