Civil Surgeon of Bhandara District General Hospital, Dr Pramod Khandate said 17 children, aged between one and three months, were admitted to the sick newborn care unit.
“In the wee hours of Saturday, a nurse notice smoke emanating from this ward and altered doctors. The hospital staff tried their best to save the children. Ten children have died, seven are safe,” he added.
According to hospital sources, the fire broke out around 0200 hrs at the sick newborn care unit. The cause of the fire was not known immediately but the hospital administration said an electrical short circuit could be the possible reason.
Dr Khandate said the fire brigade was able to rescue seven babies from the ‘inbound ward’.
He added that the ward where the 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 said.
The hospital has informed parents of the deceased children about the tragedy and the seven newborn babies rescued in the blaze have been shifted to another ward.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to the State Health Minister Rajesh Tope as well as District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Bhandara district over the fire tragedy.
The Chief Minister has also ordered a probe into the matter.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in tweets the tragedy at Bhandara district hospital was “unfortunate” and he is “pained beyond words”.
“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 gives them the strength to bear this irreparable loss,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also tweeted on the tragedy and said it is “extremely tragic”.
He tweeted, “The unfortunate incident of fire at Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra is extremely tragic. My condolences to the families of the children who lost their lives. I appeal to Maharashtra government to provide every possible assistance to the families of the injured and deceased.”