In what is considered a shocking lapse, 10 infants were killed and another 7 were saved after a fire ravaged through the children’s ward of a government hospital here in the wee hours of Saturday.
Shaken by the incident and the national outrage over the innocents’ deaths, the Maharashtra government ordered a thorough investigation into the incident besides seeking a full-scale fire, electrical and structural audit of all hospitals in the state.
The fire, caused by a suspected electrical short-circuit, broke out at around 1.45 am in the Sick and Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the Bhandara District General Hospital, when the mothers and other relatives of the infants were fast asleep, District Surgeon PramodKhandate informed the media. At that time, a nurse on duty who happened to pass by the ward noticed the smoke inside and raised an alarm as other hospital staffers rushed to the spot.
At least 10 infants, including 8 females, a majority of them less than 3 months old, perished due to suffocation, while at least three died due to severe burn injuries. Another 7 infants in the ‘inbound ward’ were saved.