Police inspect charred equipment and furniture after the fire at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Government Kamal Nehru Hospital in Bhopal, on November 8, 2021. Photo: PTI
Bhopal: At least four infants died in a fire that broke out in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) of Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital here on Monday night, prompting the government to order a high-level probe into the incident.
Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said a short circuit may have caused the fire and described the situation inside the ward as “very scary”.
According to an official, the blaze started on the third floor of the hospital, which houses the ICU.
“Four children died in the fire that broke out in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) ward probably due to a short circuit,” Sarang said.
“We reached the spot along with others soon after getting information about the incident. It was dark inside the ward. We shifted the children to the adjacent ward,” he said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each for the family members of the victims, he added.
The fire broke out around 9 pm and around 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the flames, said Fatehgarh fire station in-charge Juber Khan.
A short circuit may have caused the fire, he said.
A total of 40 children were admitted to the SNCU. Of these, 36 were undergoing treatment in different wards.
In a tweet in Hindi, Chouhan said that the rescue operation was swift and the blaze is under control now.
“A high-level probe has been ordered into the incident. The probe will be conducted by ACS (additional chief secretary), health and medical education, Mohammad Suleiman,” the chief minister said.
Angry family members of some of the infants have alleged that instead of saving the children, the hospital staff chose to run away.
“While a parent was searching for his child, some others rushed out of the hospital with their children,” eyewitnesses said.
A woman who was inside the hospital said the ward was shrouded in smoke.
Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital is part of Hamidia Hospital, one of the biggest government medical facilities in the state.
Note: This report was updated since publication with additional details and a revised toll.