10 COVID-19 patients dead in fire

Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI): Ten coronavirus patients died in a fire at a COVID-19 hospital in a Mumbai mall on Friday, police said, adding more misery to a state that has emerged as the hardest hit in the pandemic.
DCP Prashant Kadam said 10 coronavirus patients died in the blaze. The hospital had earlier said two deceased were coronavirus patients who were already dead from the disease when the fire broke out. It is yet to comment on the remaining eight deaths.
Civic and hospital officials have also not disclosed how many people were rescued from there after the blaze. The fire broke out at the Sunrise Hospital in the Dreams Mall building in Bhandup area around midnight, the official said. The hospital is situated on the top floor of the four-storeyed mall building. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who visited the spot in the afternoon said strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the fire.
Thackeray apologised to the families of the victims and announced Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased.
Thackeray said permission was granted to the hospital “on a temporary basis” last year to run a COVID-19 centre.
The blaze comes amid an upsurge in coronavirus cases in Mumbai. On Thursday, the city logged 5,504 new infections, the highest daily count since the pandemic began.
The cause of the fire has not been ascertained yet, BMC control room sources said.
Thirty fire engines, 20 water tankers and ambulances were rushed to the spot. Fire fighting operation is underway, the official said.
Patients who were evacuated were shifted to another hospital, the official said.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar who visited the site expressed surprise that a hospital was operating inside the mall.
“I have seen a hospital at a mall for the first time,” the mayor said, adding action will be taken if irregularities were found in allowing the facility to operate there.
The hospital in a statement said, “There was a fire on the first floor of Dreams Mall, Bhandup and the smoke reached up to the Sunrise Hospital located on the top floor. When fire alarms sounded, all patients were safely evacuated to the fire refuge area as the smoke was reaching the hospital.”
A civic official said the BMC had issued notice to the mall last year for allegedly flouting fire safety norms.
Former NCP MP Sanjay Patil said he had written to the BMC commissioner last year drawing the civic body’s attention to the alleged flouting of fire safety norms there.
President Ram Nath Kovind mourned the loss of lives in the hospital fire. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this tragedy. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured,” he tweeted.
“Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Mumbai. I pray that the injured recover soon,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
“Pained by the loss of lives in a fire incident at a COVID care hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Vice President Venkaiah Naidu tweeted.

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