Smoke killed most victims of Ahmednagar hospital fire: Police

Published on Nov 07, 2021 05:13 PM IST

The fire broke out at 11am on Saturday at the ground floor of the hospital, where 17 Covid patients were admitted, at least 15 of whom were on ventilator or oxygen support

Ahmednagar: Charred remains at the ICU of Civil Hospital after a fire broke out, in Ahmednagar, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (PTI Photo)
Ahmednagar: Charred remains at the ICU of Civil Hospital after a fire broke out, in Ahmednagar, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (PTI Photo)
ByNadeem Inamdar

A day after eleven persons, mostly senior citizens undergoing Covid 19 treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Maharashtra's Ahmednagar Civil Hospital were killed in a blaze, the Ahmednagar police said that 70% deaths were caused by smoke from the fire while the remaining died after directly getting caught in the flames.

“We have found that maximum number of the deaths were due to smoke and others were caught in direct fire. The ratio is 70: 30 and investigations are on to find more in the case. Post-mortem details are awaited,” assistant police inspector at Topkhana police, Zubair Mujawar, who is also an investigation officer in the case, said on Sunday.

Smoke inhalation can led to death by asphyxiation (lack of oxygen), chemical or thermal irritation, chemical asphyxiation, or a combination of these.

An FIR against unidentified persons under the Indian Penal Code’s (IPC) Section 304(A), for causing death due to negligence, was registered in connection with the incident.

“The police have started investigation and anyone found guilty will be punished,” said Deepak Pandey, the inspector general for Nashik range.

The fire broke out at 11am on Saturday at the ground floor of the hospital, where 17 Covid patients were admitted, at least 15 of whom were on ventilator or oxygen support. While 10 elderly patients died at the spot, one critically injured patient, succumbed after being rescued.

Also Read: Two dead after blaze at a residential building in Mumbai

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the incident, and the state health minister Rajesh Tope has announced an ex gratia amount of 5 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased.

Ahmednagar chief fire officer Shankar Misal said that the necessary safety equipments installation and measures were not undertaken at the hospital.

A short circuit was suspected to be the cause of the blaze, though it was yet to be confirmed, Misal said. Maharashtra energy minister Nitin Raut too has ordered a detailed inquiry into the fire. The electricity department’s inspection team had reached the hospital and will conduct a probe, he said.

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