At least five people were killed and half a dozen others sustained injuries in a fire at a designated Covid-19 hospital in Rajkot early on Friday morning. Earlier on 6 August, eight people were killed in a similar fire in Shrey Hospital of Ahmedabad.
The fire started shortly after midnight in Uday Shivanand hospital in Mavdi area of Rajkot. Of the 33 Covid-19 patients admitted in the hospital, at least six have sustained injuries while five died due to the fire.
Those who survived the fire have been shifted to another hospital on Kuvadva road on the outskirts. As per the preliminary reports, the fire started around 12.20 past midnight due to a short circuit in a medical equipment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the second floor of the hospital.
Chief minister Vijay Rupani has ordered a probe into the incident and announced an ex gratia relief of Rs four lakh each for the kin of the victims.
Apex Court takes note: The Supreme Court took cognisance of the fire incident and sought a report from Gujarat government on the issue. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said 26 patients at the hospital were rescued and shifted to other facilities. Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agarwal said, “Out of the 11 coronavirus patients admitted to the ICU ward, five lost their lives in the fire, which was quickly brought under control before it could spread to other floors.”
Patel said the blaze broke out in the ICU ward and was brought under control within half an hour by the fire brigade. While three coronavirus patients died on the spot, two others succumbed to the injuries while they were being shifted to another hospital.
“Nobody else was injured in the incident. Twenty-six other patients, including those who were undergoing treatment on the upper floors, were shifted to other hospitals,” Patel said.
The Chief Minister’s Office said senior IAS officer AK Rakesh would carry out the probe into the incident. In August, eight COVID-19 patients were killed after a fire broke out on the top floor of a four-storey private hospital in Ahmedabad.
In the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, assured the bench that the Union home secretary will convene a meeting latest by Saturday and issue directions on fire safety in government hospitals across India.