District guardian minister Hasan Mushrif said despite funds being provided to upgrade infrastructure, the fire-fighting equipment was found to be inadequate.
While district guardian minister Hasan Mushrif said an eight-member probe team headed by divisional commissioner Radhakrishna Game will probe the fire, health minister Rajesh Tope announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the dead. Mushrif said despite funds being provided to the hospital to upgrade its infrastructure, the fire-fighting equipment was found to be inadequate.
Ahmednagar NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap said the entire ICU wing on the ground floor was engulfed in thick black smoke, creating problems for the hospital staff in evacuating patients. The rescue efforts could be carried out only after the fire brigade arrived. Mushrif said stern action will be taken against those responsible.
Acting DIG of Nashik range Deepak Pandey said an offence of causing death due to negligence will be registered against unknown persons for the deaths. Police will investigate the case independently. CM Uddhav Thackeray and PM Modi expressed grief over the incident. Ahmednagar district collector Rajendra Bhosale said bodies have been sent for postmortem.
There are two ICU wings in the hospital — one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor. The fire broke out in the ground floor unit. It took the fire brigade about half an hour to douse the blaze, but by then beds and several equipments had been gutted. Shankar Misal, chief fire officer of the Ahmednagar municipal corporation, said “Hospital staff used the fire extinguisher, but black smoke, zero visibility and intense heat hampered their efforts.”
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