Four patients killed in fire at Thane hospital
Four patients were killed after a fire broke out at a private non-Covid-19 hospital in Mumbra near Thane in the wee hours of Wednesday, officials said.
The deceased, who were among six patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Prime Criticare Hospital at Kausa-Mumbra locality, died after they were shifted to another hospital and not due to burns, the officials added.
A short circuit in the metre box is suspected to be the cause of the fire which erupted around 3.40 am and was doused around 5 am, firefighting officials said. The cooling operations were completed in the next couple of hours.
A total of 20 patients were in the hospital when the incident took place. This is the fourth case of fire in a hospital in the state in a span of one week.
Briefing reporters, Thane municipal corporation (TMC) deputy commissioner Sandeep Malvi said: “Four people in the ICU of the hospital died after being shifted to various other hospitals. The remaining people were shifted to Bilal and Kalsekar hospitals.
The deceased included Yasmeen Zafar Sayyed (46), Nawab Majid Shaikh (47), Halima Salmani (70) and Hari Ramji Sonawane (57).
The hospital is part of the seven-floored residential Hasnain tower and located in a congested area of Mumbra.
TMC’s regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam, said: “The fire broke out at 3.40 am on Wednesday. Two fire engines, two water tankers, five ambulances and one rescue vehicle were rushed to the spot. We rescued all 20 patients admitted in the hospital and shifted them to nearby hospitals. All of them were alive when we shifted them. They died in the respective hospitals after being shifted.”
TMC chief fire officer Girish Zalke said the hospital was issued a notice in February after it had failed to submit a fire safety audit. “The Prime Criticare Hospital had not submitted the fire safety audit to us for which we had sent a notice to the hospital. There was no response. The fire started from the meter box of the ground floor of the hospital and later spread to the first floor, which also houses the hospital. The top six floors are residential floors,” he said.
Assuring strict action against the guilty, guardian minister Eknath Shinde, who visited the spot, said, “We have asked for a structural and fire audit of the hospital and we will take action against the negligence that killed four persons. The state government has announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh for the deceased and 1 lakh for the injured. We have asked the TMC, too, to compensate the deceased with ₹5 lakh.”
Sadique Engineer (30), a ward boy in the hospital, said the fire erupted at 3.15 am near the metre room.
“An alarm that the oxygen supply to the patient is depleting went off after which I went to get an additional tank near the meter room and saw the fire. I used a fire extinguisher and tried to douse it but was unsuccessful. I called another ward boy on duty and together we tried to douse the fire using three to four extinguishers,” he said.
After their efforts to contain the flames failed, they called the fire brigade who reached the spot at around 4 am.
While no case has been filed so far, TMC deputy commissioner Manish Joshi said an inquiry committee has been formed to look into the case. “I will head the committee myself and the guilty will be brought to book,” she said.
The short circuit led to a power cut, in the entire tower, which resumed later in the day.
Senior inspector of Mumbra police Madhukar Kad said: “We are awaiting a report from TMC and fire officials. Following the report, a case will be registered against those responsible.”
On April 23, 11 people died in a fire at a hospital ICU in Virar. Twenty-four Covid patients were killed after a leakage in an oxygen tank in Nashik led to disruption in supply on April 21. Eleven people reportedly died due to lack of oxygen in a hospital in Beed district on the following day.