Fire in COVID-19 hospital’s intensive care kills 18 in India’s Gujarat

Ahmedabad: At least 18 people, including two healthcare workers were killed in a fire at a COVID-19 hospital in the western Indian state of Gujarat late on Friday night, officials said on Saturday, in the country’s latest deadly hospital accident.

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The fire started around midnight in the intensive care ward of the Patel Welfare Hospital, a designated COVID-19 facility, in Bharuch city, 115 miles (185 km) south of the state’s main commercial city, Ahmedabad “Sixteen patients and two staff members have died in the fire.

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Twelve of them died due to fire and smoke,” said R.V. Chudasama, a superintendent of police in Bharuch.

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“Preliminary investigation shows the fire was caused because of a short circuit,” he said.

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Local news channels showed footage of a hospital ward completely destroyed in the fire.

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Escaped the disaster

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“There was a lot of chaos because of the scale of the fire … hospital staff rushed my family members out from the ward and we used our car to take them to another hospital,” said Parth Gandhi, whose two relatives, both COVID-19 patients escaped the disaster.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet he was “pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Bharuch.”

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India’s healthcare system is struggling to cope with the coronavirus crisis, which has killed 211,853 people and infected more than 19 million, according to health ministry data on Saturday.

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A dozen people were reported killed after a fire in a hospital treating COVID-19 patients in a suburb of Mumbai on April 23. Earlier 22 patients died at a public hospital in Maharashtra where Mumbai is located when oxygen supplies ran out due to a leaking tank.

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