Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday sought forgiveness from the families of deceased who died in the massive fire that broke out shortly after midnight at a coronavirus hospital in Mumbai, and promised a compensation of ₹ 5 lakh each.
The fire was reported at around 12.30 am and 22 fire-engines were dispatched to fight the blaze. In in its initial statement the hospital authorities have said “there is no casualty due to fire”. Shortly after, however, the hospital said some patients were “missing” and efforts were on to trace and identify them.
Reacting to this appalling incident Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in Bangladesh on a two-day visit, expressed his grieve saying he was “pained by the loss of lives” and would pray for the injured.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Mumbai. I pray that the injured recover soon: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 26, 2021
So far, nearly ten bodies have been recovered, as per officials claims, while around 70 patients, who were being treated for the virus – have been moved to safely from the ‘Dreams Mall Sunrise Hospital’ – which was located on the fourth floor of a shopping mall in Mumbai’s Bhandup neighbourhood.
“The firefighters did a great job in rescuing people. However… some who were on ventilators could not be rescued. I seek forgiveness from their families,” Mr Thackeray told reporters today after visiting the hospital premises.
The hospital, the Chief Minister said, had been set up to deal with the wave of Covid infections that have swept the city; at the peak of the first wave last year Mumbai was the worst-affected metro city in the country, with hospital beds and life-saving medical equipment in short supply.
Referring to preliminary reports Mr Thackeray said the fire originated at a shop in the mall and not in the hospital itself: “I want to assure you that whoever is at fault… they will be punished.”
“We have been fighting against the coronavirus for the past year. When the pandemic hit the state, there were very few beds and ventilators, but we continued our fight and set up temporary hospitals. This hospital was temporarily allowed to treat coronavirus patients,” he explained adding that hospital’s permit would have expired on March 31.
Earlier today Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar had also told media, “This is the first time I have seen a hospital in a mall. This is a very serious situation. Seven patients were on ventilators. 70 have been taken to another hospital. There will be an investigation to confirm the cause.”
According to reports, in November last year the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued a notice to this mall – for allegedly flouting fire safety norms.