In a horrific incident at the Bhandara District general hospital in Maharashtra, 10 infants died due to a fire that broke out in the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the hospital. The fire broke out at around 1:30 AM on Saturday.

Atleast 3 babies suffered from fire injuries whereas 7 others died due to suffocation from inhaling the smoke. The rescued babies are fine and have been shifted to another unit. There were 17 children in the neonatal unit at that time. 7 children who were rescued were born in the hospital in the inward section of the unit. While, the 10 children who could not be saved were in the outborn section, that is, they were born in some other hospital but were recommended the government hospital due to complications in birth. The children in the ward were aged between 1 to 3 months.

The patients in nearby wards are also safe and have been moved to other wards of the hospital.

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According to the primary report of the fire brigade department, the cause of the incident was short circuit and the fire brigade equipment at the hospital were not functioning at that time. Administration has learnt that the ward was left unattended for a long time and the incident was reported only when one of the staff members reached the ward but until then the fire had already broken and it was full of smoke.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackaray has ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident. Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that “Strict action will be taken against the culprits” and has announced a compensation of Rs 5 Lakh for the kin of the deceased.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences in a tweet that said, “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.”

Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the President of India among many other leaders have also tweeted their condolences after the heart wrenching incident.