New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a tragic incident, at least 14 COVID-19 patients lost their lives while several others were injured after a massive broke at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Maharashtra's Virar in Palghar district. The incident took place in the wee hours of Friday. 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.

The dead include five women and eight men. TV visuals showed the smoke-filled ICU in a disarray after the blaze, with the ceiling falling off in some places, beds and other furniture was strewn around and kin of the deceased wailing outside the hospital. Five patients were rescued and shifted to other hospitals in the area.

The fire broke out in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar shortly after 3 am. However, firefighters extinguished the blaze at 5.20 am but could not save the lives of 13 patients. The other patients in the hospital were not affected as the damage was confined to the ICU only.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the tragedy. The Chief Minister also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of the deceased. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also offered condolences to the bereaved families who lost their kins in the tragic incident. "The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon", PM Narendra Modi said.

District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam, as quoted by news agency PTI said, that the Virar hospital fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit. Relatives of the deceased reached the hospital soon after hearing of the incident and demanded that stringent action be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.

The tragedy comes two days after 24 COVID-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan