India

10 Babies Killed In Maharashtra Hospital Fire; "Heart-Wrenching," Says PM

10 Babies Killed In Maharashtra Hospital Fire;

Fire broke out at the Maharashtra hospital at around 2 AM.

Bhandara, Maharashtra:

Ten newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Maharashtra at around 2 AM. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and called the incident a "heart-wrenching tragedy". 

Seventeen babies were admitted at the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the four-storeyed hospital in Maharashtra's Bhandara district, about 900 km from the state capital Mumbai, at the time of incident. Seven of them, who were admitted to the inborn ward of the unit, were rescued by the fire brigade officials; those in the outbound ward couldn't be rescued. They are believed to have died due to suffocation. 

In a tweet, PM Modi wrote: "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. (sic)".

All the infants were between a month and three months old, a doctor was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "Ten children died in a fire that broke out at the SNCU of Bhandara District General Hospital at 2 am today. Seven children were rescued from the unit," District civil surgeon Pramod Khandate said. A nurse first noticed smoke coming out from the neonatal care unit, according to PTI, and she alerted the doctors. 

"There were fire extinguishers and staff used them while trying to douse the fire. There was too much smoke," Dr Khandate said. While the cause of the fire is yet to be confirmed, a short circuit is believed to have set off the blaze. Patients admitted to other wards were shifted safely.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope, and he has also ordered a probe into the incident. ""The chief Minister has ordered a probe in the entire incident. He spoke to the district collector and police superintendent and asked them to probe the fire," his office said in a statement. 

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Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted condolences.  

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appealed to the state government to provide all possible assistance to the families affected. 

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)