A day after a major fire at the ICU of a civil hospital in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district killed 11 people, it has emerged that some of the victims died due to smoke that engulfed the ward following the blaze, according to a police official. The blaze erupted around 11am on Saturday in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward where 17 Covid-19 patients, many of them senior citizens and some on ventilator or oxygen, were undergoing treatment at the hospital in Ahmednagar, located 120km from Pune and 253km from Mumbai.
The ward had been added to the hospital after the pandemic began, officials earlier said.
‘Some patients died of burns, while some died due to the smoke. We are waiting for a detailed post-mortem report. Further investigation in the case is on,’ Topkhana police station’s assistant police inspector Juber Mujawar said on Sunday.
A short circuit was suspected to be the cause of the blaze, though it was yet to be confirmed, chief fire officer of the city civic body Shankar Misal said.
As per district Collector Rajendra Bhosale, a fire audit had been carried out at the hospital. But according to Misal, after the audit, the work of installing necessary safety systems was incomplete due to ‘want of funds’.
Most of those who died were aged between 65 and 83, according to hospital officials.
A probe committee headed by Misal will look into what led to the tragedy, the collector earlier said.