At least nine COVID-19 patients killed in Mumbai hospital fire
The facility was set up in a mall due to shortage of beds during last year’s surge
At least nine COVID-19 patients were killed on Thursday night March 25 around 11.45pm after a fire swept through a mall that also housed a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in the Bhandup area of Mumbai. Two others had died of COVID-19, officials said.
Officials said 68 patients were evacuated.
According to officials, nine patients died of suffocation from smoke as the fire engulfed the hospital.
According to Corporation officials, the fire started on the first floor of the Dream Mall near the Bhandup suburban railway station. The Sunrise Hospital is situated on the third floor and has a capacity of 107 beds. “At the time of fire, 78 patients were being treated,” an official said.
Permission to run the hospital was given due to the shortage of beds for COVID-19 patients during last year’s outbreak.
According to fire service officials, the fire spread from the first to the second floor and smoke engulfed the third floor.
“We managed to rescue 68 patients from the hospital with the joint effort of all agencies,” the official said. Those who were in ICU and on ventilation could not be evacuated, he added.
“We have filed a case with the Bhandup police station and reasons behind the fire will be probed. Police will also check as to whether all permissions and NOCs related to fire safety were obtained,” he said.
The rescued COVID-19 patients were shifted immediately to the nearby COVID care centres.
In a statement, the hospital said it was started under exceptional circumstances in 2020 and has helped many patients recover.
“It is functioning with all due compliances such as fire licence and nursing home license. The hospital staff did a fantastic job in safely evacuating patients on wheelchairs and beds to the refuge areas and by following the fire drills,” the statement said. It added that the fire alarm was set off by the smoke, following which all patients were evacuated.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who visited the site of the blaze, apologised to the families of the victims.
Announcing a ₹5-lakh compensation to the kin of each of the deceased, he said, “We had given permission for temporary COVID hospitals due to the rise in the number of patients in 2020. This hospital, too, was given the permission under this category. All field hospitals and those within buildings must now undergo strict fire safety checks.” He added that the permission for the said hospital was to end on March 31, 2021.
The Opposition BJP said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the BMC should take responsibility for the tragedy.