At least five people were charred to death and several others injured in a big blaze past midnight on Friday at a private hospital designated for Covid-19 patients in Rajkot, officials said, in what was the seventh such incident in Gujarat in the last three months.
The fire broke out at 1am in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Uday Shivanand Hospital, which was designated a Covid-19 facility in September, following a short-circuit in equipment, an official said.
While three people died on the spot, two others succumbed to burn injuries later. Six other patients in the ICU were rescued by the hospital staff and fire brigade personnel. Around 33 patients were admitted in the hospital. The Supreme Court took cognisance of the incident, calling it “shocking”. The court said this is a “very serious thing” and sought a report from Gujarat government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted their condolences to the bereaved families, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for an investigation into such hospital fires.
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani ordered an inquiry into the incident, and announced a compensation of ₹4 lakh to the kin of the deceased. Rajkot municipal commissioner Udit Agarwal said: “The fire was caused by a spark in the ICU and we are waiting for the forensic [reports].”