Home » Fire at hospital in Virar leaves 13 COVID-19 patients dead

Fire at hospital in Virar leaves 13 COVID-19 patients dead

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 4 minutes read

The mishap occurred two days after 24 patients suffocated to death at a  hospital in Nashik
By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, April 23:

Thirteen COVID-19 patients lost their lives in a fire that broke out in the ICU after a blast in the AC unit, of the Vijay Vallabh Hospital, located at Bolinj in Virar West, about 56 kms from Mumbai (Maharashtra), in early hours on Friday. 
The dead include five women and eight men. There were 90 patients in the hospital, 18 of them in the intensive care unit (ICU) when the fire broke out, the hospital’s CEO Dr Dilip Jain confirmed. Vijay Vallabh Hospital is a private entity functioning as a COVID-19  hospital. 
The tragedy comes two days after 24 Covid-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik on Wednesday. 
The fire at Virar hospital started around 3.15 am on the second floor of the hospital due to a short-circuit in the air conditioner in the ICU. It was extinguished by 5.30 in the morning. District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam said that the fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit. The five survivors have been shifted elsewhere. Relatives of the deceased reached the hospital soon after hearing of the incident and demanded that stringent action be taken against those responsible for the tragedy. 
Visuals showed the smoke-filled ICU in a disarray after the blaze, with the ceiling falling off in some places, beds and other furniture strewn around and kin of the deceased wailing outside the hospital. 
Condolences pour in, ex gratia announced
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of life and approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the hospital fire. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured,” the PMO said in a tweet. 
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also expressed his condolences for the victims of the hospital fire. “Disturbed by the heartbreaking news of multiple deaths due to a fire at the Vijay Vallabh hospital in Maharashtra’s Virar. May God give peace to the departed souls and their families the strength to bear this trauma. I pray all the injured make speedy recoveries,” he wrote. 
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged party workers to assist all those in need. “Tragic news has been received from Vijay Vallabh Covid centre in Virar about the death of patients due to a fire. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims. I appeal to the State government and Congress workers to provide all necessary assistance,” he wrote on Telegram. 
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to tragic fire at a Hospital in Palghar, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured.” 
Maharashtra Government orders probe
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered an inquiry into the incident. Thackeray spoke to concerned officials and directed them to focus on extinguishing the fire completely and ensuring treatment of other patients continues uninterrupted. He also directed the administration to immediately inquire whether the hospital was adequately equipped in terms of fire safety. The Maharashtra government also announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for those injured. 
In the meanwhile India recorded over 3 lakh cases for the second straight day on Friday, clocking 3,32,730 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed. With this, India’s trend of registering the world’s highest daily tally continues, pushing the country’s total infection count to 16,263,695 cases. As many as 2,263 people also died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, mounting the coronavirus death toll to 186,920.

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