Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: At least 10 people -- all COVID-19 patients -- were killed while several others were injured on Saturday afternoon after a massive fire broke out at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a district hospital in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar. The fire has now been extinguished and a rescue operation is underway to save injured in the incident, said District Collector Rajendra Bhosale.

The cause of the fire, which erupted at around 11 am, is not known yet. However, initial investigation suggests that a short circuit caused the fire in the COVID ward where around 25 people were admitted. Senior police and district officials have reached the spot and are supervising the rescue and relief operations.

Maharashtra Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik has expressed grief over the incident and said that a probe has been ordered by the state government, warning that those responsible for it won't be spared. "It will be investigated if the fire audits were conducted or not. In case it was done, then how did the fire begin and in case the fire audit was not conducted, then who is responsible? All of this will be investigated," he was quoted as saying by an English news channel.

Devendra Fadnavis, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has called for an in-dept inquiry and offered condolences to the kin of those who lost their lives in the incident. "Very shocking and disturbing news from Nagar... Praying for speedy recovery of the injured. In-depth inquiry should be conducted and strict action against all responsible people," he tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed grief over the incident. "Anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said in a Tweet.

This is not the first time when COVID-19 patients have lost their lives in a hospital fire in Maharashtra. In April this year, 14 COVID-19 patients, including five women, were killed after a massive broke at the ICU of Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Maharashtra's Palghar district. According to the hospital, there were 90 patients in the facility, 18 of them in the ICU, when the fire broke out due to a blast in the AC unit. 

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma