Eighteen people are dead after a fire broke out at a Covid-19 hospital ward in India’s Gujarat state in the early hours of Saturday.
The fire broke out in the intensive care unit of the Welfare Hospital in the western state’s Bharuch district, according to Dr. MD Modiya, a senior district official.
According to Modiya, 16 of the dead were patients. Two were staff members.
Nearly 60 patients were in the hospital at the time of the fire, which broke out around 1 a.m. local time, he said. The remaining patients have been moved to nearby hospitals.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but initial investigations suggest a short circuit, according to Dr Modiya.
In a tweet on Saturday, Gujarat’s chief minister, Vijay Rupani, said two senior officers from the Indian Administrative Service have been dispatched to Bharuch to investigate the fire. The state government will open a judicial inquiry into the fire, he added.
In an earlier post, Rupani offered his condolences to the patients and staff at Welfare Hospital and offered $5,398 in compensation to the families of each of the victims.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his condolences.
"Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Bharuch," he said. "Condolences to the bereaved families."