Virar: After 13 COVID patients died in a fire incident at the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Friday, the Maharashtra government announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakhs each to the families of those who lost their lives. Expressing grief over the incident, Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde has ordered a probe into the matter and said those found responsible won’t be spared.Also Read - Maharashtra: 19 Cops Injured, 12 Vehicles Damaged During Clashes in Palghar Steel Factory; 27 held

“This is a big accident. Those found responsible won’t be spared. The government will provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakhs each to the families of those who lost their lives,” Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde said on Virar hospital fire incident. Also Read - Maharashtra Bird Flu Scare: After Thane, Samples In Palghar Found Positive For Avian Influenza

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On the other hand, PM Modi expressed grief and conveyed condolences to those who lost their loved ones. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

“The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed grief and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured. “Saddened by the loss of lives due to tragic fire at a Hospital in Palghar, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Rajnath said ina tweet.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the COVID-19 patients who died in the blaze and appealed to the state government to provide all necessary assistance to them.

“Tragic news has been received from Vijay Vallabh COVID centre in Virar about the death of patients due to a fire. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” Gandhi said on Telegram.

“I appeal to the State Govt and Congress workers to provide all necessary assistance,” the former Congress chief said.

The fire broke out in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar shortly after 3 AM, an official said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 5.20 AM, he added.

There were 90 patients in the hospital, 18 of them in ICU when the fire broke out after a blast in the AC unit, an official told PTI. The dead include five women and eight men.

TV visuals showed the smoke-filled ICU in a disarray after the blaze, with the ceiling falling off in some places, beds and other furniture strewn around and kin of the deceased wailing outside the hospital.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the tragedy, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said authorities should check if there was a fire safety audit of the hospital, which is over 50 km from Mumbai.

The fire incident comes two days after 22 COVID-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik.