Mumbai Hospital Fire: 11 Dead, CM Seeks Forgiveness From Kin
The hospital initially had claimed in its statement that there was “no casualty due to the fire”
The death toll in the fire that broke out at Sunrise Hospital in Mumbai’s Bhandup early on Friday, 26 March, has risen to 11, ANI reported.
Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray condemned the incident. “Action will be taken against those found responsible. Compensation will be given to families of the deceased. Most of the patients who died were on ventilator support. I offer my condolences and apologies to their families,” ANI quoted him as saying.
“The firefighters did a great job in rescuing people. However, some of the patients who were on ventilators could not be rescued. I seek forgiveness from their families,” Thackeray told reporters after visiting the hospital, reported NDTV.
Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi also condoled the deaths on Twitter.
What Had Happened?
The hospital had initially claimed in its statement that there was “no casualty due to the fire”. However, as per an NDTV report, it later clarified that efforts were being made to identify “missing patients” since the incident.
According to reports, the hospital is situated on the third floor of a mall. It had over 70 patients, including seven on ventilator support. Several COVID-19 patients were admitted at the hospital as well.
“A level-3 or level-4 fire broke out on the first floor of a mall at 12:30 am. Around 23 fire tenders are present at the spot,” DCP Prashant Kadam was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ordered a probe into the incident on Friday.
Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh confirmed that there were fire lapses at the COVID centre in the hospital as well as the mall, and noted that action will be taken against those responsible for the incident.
Assuring action, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar reportedly said, “The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. I have seen a hospital at a mall for the first time. Action will be taken. Seventy patients, including COVID-infected people, have been shifted to another hospital.”
Ten water tankers were brought in to douse the flames and the patients were provided oxygen masks and shifted to another hospital.
What Did the Hospital Say?
“There was a fire on the first floor of Dreams Mall, Bhandup, and the smoke reached up to Sunrise Hospital on the top floor. All fire alarms rang and, hence, all patients could be safely evacuated to the fire refuge area. There were two bodies (patients who succumbed to COVID), which were also evacuated. There was no casualty due to the fire,” a statement by the hospital read.
The hospital stated that the patients were shifted to Jumbo COVID care centre.
“We believe that the casualties have not occurred due to fire, but either in transit or at other hospitals. We have spoken to authorities and requested them to investigate and find the cause of the fire. The guilty need to be punished,” the hospital said.
“We are grateful to the Mumbai fire brigade and the Mumbai Police for helping us save lives. This hospital was started in exceptional circumstances during the pandemic last year and helped in saving many patients from COVID. It is operating with all compliances like fire-safety clearance and nursing home licence. The hospital staff did a fantastic job of safely evacuating patients on wheelchairs and beds to the refuge areas and by following the fire drills,” the statement added.
In a statement, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said that the administration has requested Bhandup police to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident, adding that proceedings have been initiated as well.
BJP’s Kirit Somaiya asked Bhandup Police to register a criminal complaint against the hospital, calling their version of the incident a “big lie”.
The incident comes at a time when Maharashtra is experiencing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, 25 March, Mumbai reported 5,504 new patients, in what is the biggest one-day spike ever, along with 14 deaths. Maharashtra, too, reported the highest single-day spike on Thursday with 35,952 new cases.
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