On April 23, 13 patients were reported dead after a massive fire broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Vijay Vallabh Covid Care hospital in Virar West in the Palghar district, Mumbai. The COVID-19 patients died after inhaling toxic fumes. Uddhav Thackeray government had ordered a probe.
Now, investigations have revealed that though a fire audit was conducted in Vijay Vallabh Covid Care hospital, they did not get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department. This means that the hospital was operating without proper firefighting equipment and a NOC.
Mumbai police seize CCTV footage, registers FIR against hospital owner and staff
According to Mirror Now, the police has seized the CCTV footages of the hospital and are trying to investigate whether any staff was present in the ICU ward when the mishap happened. It says that on the day when the fire broke out the hospital claimed that there was a doctor and a ward boy present in the ICU. However, the relatives of the deceased had alleged that no staff was present in the ICU when the fire broke out.
After 15 #Covid19 patients lost their lives in the #VirarHospitalfire yesterday, no arrests have been made. Investigations reveal that a fire audit was conducted in the hospital, but they did not get a No Objection Certificate.@mayuganapatye reports! pic.twitter.com/0kiRzob00Y— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) April 24, 2021
Police have registered an FIR against the owner, administrators, doctors and staffers of the hospital under IPC sections 304, 337, 338 and 34. However, no arrests have been made so far.
Sanjay Kumar Patil, DCP (Zone 2), said: “In the FIR, the municipality has alleged that necessary precautions and safeguards were not taken by the hospital, which led to the incident. We have asked the fire department to give us their report. We are also finding out if the owner had all mandatory licenses to run the hospital,” Patil added.
The Virar hospital tragedy
According to reports, after 3 AM, the fire started in the air conditioning unit of the hospital’s ICU, where, as many as 17 patients were being treated for the infection. After the fire broke, the Vasai Virar Corporation fire brigade reached the spot and doused the fire. However, until then, 13 people have lost their lives to the fire.
Following this incident, people are criticising the Uddhav Thackeray government for its incompetence in getting a handle on the healthcare system in the state.
We reported yesterday how at least 57 have died in hospital mishaps in 4 the last months in Maharashtra.
While the Maharashtra government had displayed eager alacrity to deflect criticism and pin the blame of its bungled handling of the coronavirus crisis on the centre, it has not shown the same zeal in fixing accountability over the routine incidents of hospital mishaps. Instead, the health minister of state passes callous and flippant remarks that such incidents are of no national importance.