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Virar hospital fire: 13 COVID-19 patients dead; Centre, Maharashtra announce compensation, probe ordered

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Firefighters from the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation put out the fire within an hour, Kadam said. (Representative image)

Virar Hospital fire: As many as 13 COVID-19 patients died in a fire that broke out at around 3 am today in an intensive care unit of the Vijay Vallabh COVID care hospital in Virar under Palghar district of Maharashtra. The blaze erupted in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed hospital.

Fire engines were rushed to the site and it took them around two hours to control the blaze. The fire was extinguished around 5.20 am. According to reports, there were 17 patients in the ICU. As many as 21 patients including those in critical conditions have been shifted to another hospital in the area.

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According to the District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam, the fire broke out after an explosion in the AC unit of the ICU.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered an inquiry into the incident, informed the Chief Minister’s Office. Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde announced compensation for the bereaved families. “This is a big accident. Those found responsible won’t be spared. The government will provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those who lost their lives,” said Shinde.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condoled the loss of lives in a blaze at a private hospital in Maharashtra’s Palghar district and approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the victims. “PM @narendramodi has 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 in Virar, Maharashtra. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured,” the PMO said in a tweet.

PM Modi also offered condolences to the affected families. “The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon,” said PM Modi.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured. “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,” said Singh.

The incident happened two days after 24 COVID-19 patients died on April 21 after a leakage in a medical oxygen tank disrupted the supply of the gas at Dr. Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik. A high-level enquiry was also ordered in that incident.

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