Ahmedabad: Fireplace in India Covid medical institution kills 8 in crucial care

Mourners at the hospital

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An investigation has been ordered into the incident

Eight patients at a Covid hospital in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad have died after a fire broke out inside its critical care unit.

Senior fire department official Rajesh Bhatt told BBC Gujarati that the blaze had spread after a staff member’s PPE kit caught fire due to a short circuit.

“The staffer started running around the critical care unit in panic and the fire spread as a result,” he said.

Police have detained one director of the hospital and begun investigation.

The incident took place at 03:00 local time (21:30 GMT).

Mr Bhatt said that the fire had been brought under control after about an hour and that 40 other patients in the hospital had been transferred to a different facility.

He added that he and his team would have to undergo quarantine as they had come in close contact with many Covid patients.

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The critical care unit is located on the top floor of the hospital

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who served thrice as chief minister of Gujarat state – of which Ahmedabad is the capital – tweeted that he was “saddened” by the incident, adding that “administrative support” would be provided to the families of victims.

Current Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also tweeted, offering condolences and promising an investigation.

Meanwhile, family members of some victims alleged that the hospital had delayed calling the fire department and had also not informed some family members about the fire.

“Hospital staff members did not give us any information. No-one is talking about how the fire started and what happened,” one man, who preferred to remain anonymous, told BBC Gujarati.

Police have been given three days to determine who was responsible for the incident. They have registered a case of accidental death and detained one director.

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