'Not national news': Maharashtra minister Rajesh Tope on Virar hospital fire which killed 13
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said the fire tragedy at the Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Virar which killed 13 Covid-19 patients is not national news. The minister's statement comes shortly after a fire broke out in the intensive care unit on the second floor of the four-storeyed hospital in the early hours of Friday, in which five women and eight men died.
Stating that the action will be taken on the state government level, Tope said, "This is not national news. The state government is taking all steps to help the patients and their relatives."
The minister said that the government has announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh to the next of kin of those who lost their lives and the municipal corporation will add another ₹5 lakh to the ex gratia announced.
"We have announced probe and the report will be submitted in ten days. We will take strict action against those who are responsible for not doing compliance with mandatory fire, electrical and structural audit," Tope said.
Earlier in the day, Tope called the incident unfortunate in a tweet and said, "The fire incident at Virar based Vijay Vallabh Hospital's ICU section has claimed 13 lives. It is a very unfortunate and painful incident. CM Thackeray has ordered in-depth inquiry into this accident."
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced financial assistance of ₹five lakh each to the families of 13 Covid-19 patients who died in the blaze. A statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said those who suffered serious injuries in the incident will be given ₹one lakh compensation each.
There were 90 patients in the hospital, 18 of them in the ICU, when the fire broke out after a blast in the AC unit, an official has said.