Today, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the Dreams Mall which houses the Sunrise Hospital in aftermath of a deadly fire last night, which has claimed at least 10 lives. However, in their respective statements, both the hospital and the Chief Minister have attributed the loss of life to COVID-19 and not the fire. In a statement, CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “Compensation will be given to families of the deceased. Most of the patients who have died were on the ventilator. I offer my condolences and apologies to their families.”
The Maharashtra CM also conceded to granting Sunrise Hospital “temporary permission” in order to operate a COVID-19 Hospital inside a shopping mall. “At some places, we had given permission for temporary hospitals due to the COVID-19 situation last year as per the requirement, and the hospital in the Dreams Mall was one of them. Efforts were made to rescue all but we could not save some patients who were on ventilator support.”, the CM said.
CM Uddhav Thackeray also apologized to the families of the victims of this tragedy, saying, “If there are any lapses or negligence, it will be investigated and action will be taken against those responsible. I apologize to the families who have lost their kin.”
Until Friday early morning, two casualties were reported. The BirhanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) reported that two people had died in the fire. The Sunrise hospital, however, refuted the claim saying that those two deaths were not linked to the fire incident. “There were two dead bodies (due to Covid) that were also evacuated. There was no casualty due to fire,” the hospital said in a statement on Friday morning.
“This hospital was started in exceptional circumstances of Covid last year and has helped in saving many patients from Covid deaths. It is functioning with all due compliances like fire licence, nursing home licence etc. The hospital staff did a fantastic job in safely evacuating patients on wheelchairs and beds to the refuge areas and by following the fire drills,” the statement further said.
Contrary to what the hospital said in its statement, BJP leader Kirit Somaniya alleged that Sunrise Hospital had been operating illegally without attaining an occupancy certificate (OC). He alleged that BMC had issued an illegal conditional OC to the hospital during COVID. No safety/fire system was in place, Tweeted the BJP leader.
CNN News 18 has also accessed documents which show that Dreams Mall, Bhandup, flouted fire safety norms. There were no fire safety norms at the mall. Earlier, BMC had carried out an assessment on Mumbai malls regarding the fire safety norms and Dream Mall was amongst the 29 malls which were declared unsafe as it did not comply with the fire safety norms, reports CNN News 18.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Prashant Kadam, around 22 fire tenders reached the hospital to douse the flames. As many as 76 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital, which is located on the third floor of a mall.
Speaking about the incident earlier today, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, “This is the first time I have seen a hospital in a mall. This is a very serious situation. Seven patients were on ventilators. 70 patients have been taken to another hospital. There will be an investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire.”