Gandhinagar: At least 17 Covid-19 patients and two from medical staff have died after fire broke out in the Bharuch designated Covid hospital on Saturday morning. Over 50-60 patients were admitted in the Patel Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the ICU ward at midnight. The fire officers have said that the hospital did not have an NOC for fire.
"A fire erupted around 12.30 midnight in one of the two ICU care units in the Patel Welfare hospital in Bharuch, a designated Covid hospital on the Jambusar highway bypass. Immediately, the police, the collector and fire fighters rushed to the spot and with combined efforts, the fire has been doused," said Rajendra Chudasama, the Superintendent of Police (SP), Bharuch.
"A total of 19 people have died due to the fire, including 17 Covid critical patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)'s unit 1. Prima facie, it appears that the fire might have been caused by a short circuit, but the investigation is going on," Chudasama told IANS.
The fire was controlled within an hour and around 50 patients were rescued and shifted to nearby hospitals according to sources.
It is learnt that the hospital building did not have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) mandatory to be obtained from the fire department. "The hospital's another building has got the NOC from the fire department, but this building did not have an NOC," said Deepak Makhija, the Bharuch regional fire officer.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has expressed condolences and announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the deceased. The CM has also ordered an inquiry into the incident.
"I express my condolences to those who lost their lives in the fire accident at Bharuch Hospital. The state government will provide assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each of the victims of the accident," Rupani said.
The CM has appointed two IAS officials, the labour and employment department, Additional Chief Secretary ACS Vipul Mitra and Commissioner Municipalities Administration, RajKumar Beniwal to probe the incident. Both the officials have been immediately sent to the place.
The CM said that the government is also thinking of appointing a judicial probe into the incident.
The Jamalpur-Khadia legislator Imran Khedawala and Dariyapur legislator Gyasuddin Sheikh rushed to the hospital on learning of the tragedy.
"This is a very unfortunate thing that has happened in these tough Covid times, when such institutions are trying to save people from the pandemic. We request the government to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident and also disburse the compensation announced to the victim's families at the earliest," Khedawala said.