A fire broke out at a hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch in the wee hours of Saturday, May 1, claiming the lives of at least 18 coronavirus patients who died due to the resultant smoke.
Heart-wrenching visuals of the mishap showed the remains of some patients on beds and stretchers. There were approx. 50 other patients at the four-storeyed Welfare Hospital when the tragedy struck.
The fire broke out in the COVID ward at 1 am. The patients were rescued by firefighters and locals, an official told PTI. The 12 patients in the COVID-19 ward passed away due to the fire and resultant smoke, Rajendrasinh Chudasama, a senior police officer in Bharuch, told the news agency.
"As per information at 6.30 am, the death count in the tragedy stood at 18. Immediately after the fire, we had confirmation of 12 deaths," a police official also told the agency.
It is not clear if the remaining six also died in the Welfare Hospital or while being shifted to other hospitals.
The COVID-19 designated hospital is situated on the Bharuch-Jambusar highway, around 190 km from the state capital Ahmedabad and is being run by a trust.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the official said.
The fire was controlled within an hour and around 50 patients were rescued by locals as well as firefighters, a fire official said. They were shifted to nearby hospitals, he added.