New Delhi: Ten children were charred to death after a fire broke out at Bhandara District General Hospital on Saturday. The mishap took place at the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the hospital at 2 AM. The infants were aged between a month and three months, a doctor said. Also Read - Maharashtra Man Kills Girlfriend to Avoid Marriage, Hides Her Body in Walls of Flat

A nurse on duty alerted management officials after spotting smoke in the room. Upon receiving the information, several fire tenders rushed to the spot and began the rescue operation. Also Read - All Mumbai Schools Under BMC Limits To Remain Closed Until Further Orders

District civil surgeon Pramod Khandate said there were 17 babies in the unit and seven were rescued. “Fire brigade personnel rescued seven babies from the ‘inbound ward’ of the unit but could not save the 10 other babies”, he told reporters, adding that the cause of the fire in the four-storeyed building is yet to be ascertained but could have been the result of an electrical short circuit. Also Read - Bird Flu: Over 11000 Birds Culled in Maharashtra; Delhi Bans Sale, Storage of Poultry Products | Key Points

Khandate said the ward where newborn 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 added.

Meanwhile, parents of the deceased children have been informed and the seven newborn babies rescued in the blaze have been shifted to another ward. Besides, patients from the ICU ward, dialysis wing and labour ward (a room in a hospital set aside for childbirth) were also shifted to other wards safely.

PM Modi, Home Minister Shah Tweet Condolences

“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”, tweeted PM Modi.

Expressing grief, Home Minister Amit Shah said,”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 give them the strength to bear this irreparable loss.”

CM Announces Ex-Gratia, Orders Probe

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Health Minister Rajesh Tope as well as District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Bhandara district. He has also ordered a probe, tweeted Chief Minister’s Office.

“Ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs each to be provided to the kin of the deceased in the fire incident at Bhandara District General Hospital”, said the state health minister.

Opposition Demands Strict Action Against Culprits

“I demand an immediate probe in the fire incident at Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of Bhandara District General Hospital. I have also asked the government to take strict action against the culprits”, said Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly