Maharashtra hospital fire: Staff were asleep when blaze started, say victims’ kin



MUMBAI: Relatives of some of the victims, who died in a fire at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Palghar district early on Friday, alleged that the staffers of the facility were asleep when the blaze broke out and there was nobody to help the patients come out of the ICU.

They also alleged that the hospital did not fulfil the basic fire safety requirements.

Thirteen COVID-19 patients died in the fire at the intensive care unit (ICU) ward located on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar in the early hours of Friday.

After the incident, angry and distraught family members of the patients gathered outside the hospital.

“All this is hospital administration’s mistake. Its staff members were asleep when the fire broke out. There was not a single employee inside the ICU to help the patients come out,” a relative of one of the deceased alleged.

The hospital does not have basic fire safety equipment, like sufficient number of fire extinguishers, a family member of another patient said.

“Then why did they start the hospital at all?” he asked.

A woman, who is a doctor by profession, lost her mother in the blaze.

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Talking to reporters, she said that the fire could have put off with the help of fire extinguisher, but nothing was done.

“I lost my mother, who was recovering from the ailment. She could have been saved if the fire safety norms were followed,” she said.

“I had personally brought my mother to the hospital in an ambulance for better treatment. Now where should I find my mother,” she said sobbing.

She said that when she went upstairs after the incident, she saw some blackened bodies lying there.

Another victim’s relative sought strong action against the hospital.

“Whoever is guilty should be punished,” the relative said.

Outside the hospital, relatives of the victims were seen crying over the loss of their loved ones.

Heavy police force was deployed there following the incident.

Police and the civic staff helped the families in shifting some patients, who required oxygen and ventilators, to another hospital.

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