According to district civil surgeon Pramod Khandate said fire broke out at the Bhandara District Hospital around 1.30am. There were 17 babies in the unit and seven were rescued, he added. Fire brigade personnel rescued seven babies from the 'inbound ward' of the unit but could not save the 10 other babies, he said. Khandate said the ward where newborn babies are kept requires a continuous supply of oxygen. "There were fire extinguishers and staff used them while trying to douse the fire. There was too much smoke," he added. Parents of the deceased children have been informed and the seven newborn babies rescued in the blaze have been shifted to another ward, he said. The cause of the fire in the four- storied building is yet to be ascertained but could have been the result of an electrical short circuit, he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope as well as District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Bhandara district over the fire incident in District General Hospital. He has also ordered a probe.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the incident. Modi tweeted, “Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope the injured recover as early as possible.”
Shah tweeted, “The fire accident in Bhandara district hospital, Maharashtra, is very unfortunate. I am pained beyond words. My thoughts and condolences are with bereaved families. May God give them the strength to bear this irreparable loss.”