Ten infants died in a massive fire at the Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra. The fire broke out at 2 am at the Sick Newborn Care Unit of the hospital. The newborns were aged between one and three months. As per reports, seven other children were rescued from the unit. While the cause is yet to be ascertained, preliminary investigations suggest that the blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit.
Civil Surgeon of Bhandara District General Hospital, Dr Pramod Khandate told India Today TV that 17 children were admitted to the Sick Newborn Care Unit. "In the early hours of Saturday morning, a nurse noticed smoke emanating from the ward. The hospital staff tried their best to save the children. Ten children have died, seven are safe."
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to state health minister Rajesh Tope and District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Bhandara district. He has also ordered a probe into the matter. Maharashtra government has announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the newborns killed in the fire.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope the injured recover as early as possible."
"I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of 10 infants in Maharashtra's Bhandara. I express my heartfelt condolences to the parents who have lost their children in this heart wrenching tragedy," said President Ram Nath Kovind.
"The fire accident in Bhandara district hospital, Maharashtra is very unfortunate. I am pained beyond words. My thoughts and condolences are with bereaved families. May God give them the strength to bear this irreparable loss," Amit Shah tweeted, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "The unfortunate incident of fire at Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra is extremely tragic. My condolences to the families of the children who lost their lives. I appeal to Maharashtra government to provide every possible assistance to the families of the injured and deceased."