At least five people died and many were injured when a massive fire broke out in the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Kamgar Hospital in Andheri (East) in Mumbai on Monday evening, while the relief teams were able to rescue many others, an official of the Disaster Management Cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

According to unconfirmed reports, the fire was caused by a suspected short-circuit on the upper floors of the five-storied building which is situated in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area, which is the industrial hub of the north-western suburb.

At least 10 fire tenders, 15 water tankers and other specialised equipment were rushed to battle the blaze and those trapped were taken out via ladders from the third and fourth floors.

Of those rescued, 10 have been admitted to the Cooper Hospital, including one brought dead, 15 each in Holy Spirit Hospital and Seven Hills Hospital, and seven in Trauma Hospital for treatment.

Thick dark clouds of smoke were seen billowing from long distances in the suburbs and the rescue operations resulted in massive evening peak-hour traffic jams on the busy Andheri thoroughfare connecting north-south and eastern Mumbai.

Meanwhile, talking to media, Mumbai Mayor V Mahadeshwar said, “The cause of the fire is not known yet. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is responsible for the fire audits, whether they carried out fire audits or not, that will be investigated.”

Vinod Tawde, Minister, Government of Maharashtra said in a tweet, “Rescue operation underway to safeguard the individuals trapped in the fire that broke out at ESIC Kamgaar Hospital, Andheri. Instructed police officials, fire marshals and concerned officers to prioritise the well-being of all patients involved on site.”

(With agency inputs)