Seven newborns killed in fire at east Delhi hospital

TNN Bureau. Updated: 5/27/2024 3:01:02 AM Front Page

PM says tragedy is 'heart-rending', announces ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each

New Delhi: A massive fire broke out at a private children's hospital in east Delhi's Vivek Vihar, leaving seven newborns dead, officials said on Sunday.
The officials of the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said the blaze broke out at the Baby Care New Born Hospital at around 11:30 pm on Saturday and soon spread to two other adjacent buildings.
Sixteen fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the blaze, Divisional Fire Officer Rajendra Atwal said.
Oxygen cylinders kept in the two-storey building exploded due to which the adjacent buildings were damaged, he said.
Another fire official said two boutiques, a portion of IndusInd Bank operating from an adjacent building and a shop on the ground floor were also damaged besides an ambulance and a scooty parked outside the building.
Condoling the death of children, President Droupadi Murmu prayed for strength to the bereaved parents.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the fire tragedy at a hospital in east Delhi is "heart-rending" and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of each deceased.
"The fire tragedy at a hospital in Delhi is heart-rending. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this incredibly difficult time. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest," Modi said in a post on X.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said those responsible for negligence will not be spared.
Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj also said strictest punishment will be given to those found negligent or involved in any wrongdoing.
In a post on X, Kejriwal said the government stood with those who lost their children in the fire incident, and added the administration was ensuring proper treatment to the injured.
He said the reasons behind the fire were being probed and those found negligent will not be spared.
DFS chief Atul Garg said 12 newborns were rescued from the medical facility but seven of them died.
Five babies are undergoing treatment at another hospital, he said, adding some of them have received minor burn injuries.
The bodies have been shifted to the GTB Hospital for postmortem, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of police (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary said owner of the hospital Naveen Kichi has been booked under sections 336 (act endangering life of personal safety of others) and 304A (causing death by negligence) at Vivek Vihar police station.
The officer said teams have been formed to nab the owner.
Choudhary said they are checking the fire NOC of the hospital and if it is found with out it, IPC sections may be added.
According to eyewitnesses, locals and members of an NGO, Shaheed Seva Dal, were the first to rush to help.
Some residents climbed the building from the back side and rescued some of the newborns. Members of Shaheed Seva Dal, an NGO operating in the area, were also involved in the rescue efforts, an eyewitness said.
Ravi Gupta, a local resident, said some locals climbed from the back side of the building and evacuated children one by one.
Fire department officials, local police and members of Sewa Dal joined them in the rescue operation, another resident Sanju Verma said.
A member of Sewa Dal claimed the hospital staff ran away soon after the hospital building caught fire.
Another resident, Mukesh Bansal claimed that an 'unauthorised' oxygen refilling cylinder work was being carried out in the building.
"We had complained about it to the local councillor as well. But nothing was done. It was all happening under the nose of the police," Bansal alleged.
Bansal also said that he used to live next to the hospital but due to the 'illegal' work of refilling cylinders, he shifted to the next lane.

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