Vijayawada Covid unit in fire | Screengrab from Twitter
Vijayawada Covid unit in fire | Screengrab from Twitter
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New Delhi: Ten persons lost their lives after a fire broke out at a Covid care centre in Vijayawada Sunday.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has ordered a probe into the incident and sought a report in this regard.

Hotel Swarna Palace in Vijayawada had been converted into a care centre to treat Covid-positive patients with mild symptoms, and was connected to Ramesh Hospital, a private hospital in the region.

There were 30 patients in the five-storey building when the incident took place.

According to Krishna District Collector Mohammad Imitiyaz, the fire broke out due to a short-circuit on the ground floor of the hotel.

“An inquiry has been marked to know more,” Imitiyaz told ThePrint.

He added that two persons sustained some burns, but the rest of the patients were stable.

Those rescued have been sent to Ramesh Hospital.

An FIR has been filed against the management of the hospital under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the report submitted by the tehsildar to the local police “the hospital/hotel was aware of electrical defects and avoided repairing it due to high costs. Despite that they ran a Covid hospital”.

Fire took place early morning

The incident took place early morning and several Andhra Pradesh fire officers reached the spot soon after and doused the flames.

Krishna District Fire Officer Sreenivasa Reddy told ThePrint, “The incident took place around 4.35 am and we received a call on our helpline and rushed to the spot.”

Besides 30 patients, about 12-13 staff members, including doctors, were present.

“While some patients were rescued from their rooms as they stood at the windows of their rooms, others stood at windows of the corridors,” Reddy added.

District Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu also told ThePrint that a detailed inquiry has been ordered.

“While it will take some time, we will ensure we get to the root cause of this,” he said.

The ground floor of the hotel was the reception area while the first floor comprised a restaurant with a few rooms. The remaining three floors consisted of only rooms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the victims of the fire.

“Anguished by the fire at a Covid Centre in Vijayawada. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover as soon as possible. Discussed the prevailing situation with AP CM @ysjagan Ji and assured all possible support,” the PM tweeted.

CM Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed officials to provide immediate medical assistance to the victims of the tragedy. He has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for the families of the deceased.

Also read: After 8 Covid patients die in Ahmedabad hospital fire, relatives allege doctors ran away


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