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Four Newborns Die in Fire at Paediatric Ward in India, Government Orders Probe

© AP Photo / Rafiq MaqboolAn Indian firefighter displays his skills during the annual fire drill competition in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, March. 9, 2021
An Indian firefighter displays his skills during the annual fire drill competition in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, March. 9, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.11.2021
In the past, India has reported many hospital-related fire incidents that were ultimately blamed on a short circuit or equipment malfunctions. In the latest incident on 6 November, 11 patients died, and several were injured after a fire broke out at a hospital's COVID-19 ward in Maharashtra state.
Four infants died at a government-run hospital in India's Madhya Pradesh state after a fire swept through the newborn care unit late Monday evening.
The incident occurred at the state government-run Kamala Nehru Children's Hospital in Bhopal city.
Hospital officials said the fire broke out in a general ward and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) ward. As many as 36 of the 40 infants were rescued, while four infants lost their lives.
The fire began on the third floor of the hospital at around 9 p.m. (local time), Juber Khan, the head of the fire station told Indian daily The Hindu.
"Four children died in the fire that broke out in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) ward probably due to a short circuit. We reached the spot along with others soon after getting information about the incident. It was dark inside the ward. So, we shifted the children to the adjacent ward," State Minister Vishwas Sarang told reporters from the incident site.
He also announced an ex-gratia of INR 400,000 ($5,415) for the family members of the victims.
Videos shared over social media show newborns' kin blaming hospital authorities and the state government for the incident. Others shared how they fled the hospital.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh State Chief Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a series of tweets expressed his condolences and announced a high-level investigation into the incident, which is slated to be conducted by state chief secretary (public health and medical education) Mohammad Suleiman.
In the past year, several other fires have also taken place at hospitals around the country, with authorities blaming the poor maintenance of machines, equipment malfunctions, and a lack of proper firefighting equipment.
In May, at least 18 coronavirus patients died in an incident in India's Gujarat state.
In April, at least 14 coronavirus patients who were admitted to a hospital in Maharashtra died after a fire broke out at the medical facility.
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