India

Fire at Maharashtra hospital: Some COVID patients died due to smoke, say police

By PTI

Pune: A day after a massive fire broke out in the ICU of a civil hospital in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, it has emerged that some people died due to the smoke spread in the ward after the fire. A police officer gave this information.

The fire broke out around 11 am on Saturday in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward, where 17 COVID-19 patients, many of them senior citizens and some on ventilators or oxygen, died in Ahmednagar, 120 km from Pune. He was undergoing treatment in the hospital. and 253 km from Mumbai.

Officials had earlier said that the ward was added to the hospital after the pandemic began.

Zubair Mujawar, assistant police inspector of Topkhana police station, said on Sunday, “Some patients died due to burns, while some died due to smoke. We are awaiting the detailed postmortem report. Further investigation is on in the matter.”

He said that one of the dead has not been identified yet.

A case was registered against unidentified persons under Indian Penal Code section 304 (A) (negligent cause of death), Ahmednagar district’s Superintendent of Police Manoj Patil, late on Saturday evening.

The city’s civic body’s chief fire officer Shankar Misal said the cause of the fire was suspected to be a short circuit, though it was not confirmed.

According to relatives of the patients who usually waited in the corridor outside the ICU, they were asked to step out as the cleaning was going on.

Seeing the thick black smoke rising from the ward, many of them ran and started trying to save the patients.

According to District Collector Rajendra Bhosale, the fire audit was done at the hospital.

But according to Misal, the work on installing the required safety system was incomplete after the audit due to “lack of funds”.

According to hospital officials, most of those who died were in the age group of 65 to 83.

The collector had earlier said that an inquiry committee headed by Misal would inquire into why the tragedy happened.

According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday that a thorough investigation would be conducted by the District Collector.

Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut has ordered a detailed inquiry into the fire.

He said that the inspection team of the electricity department has reached the hospital and will investigate.

In April this year, 15 COVID-19 patients had died after a fire broke out in the ICU of a private hospital in Palghar district of the state.

Another fire in March at Dreams Mall in Mumbai’s Bhandup area, which houses a Covid-designated hospital, claimed the lives of nine such patients.

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