Massive fire at Delhi baby care hospital claims lives of seven newborns

| Updated: 27 May, 2024 1:36 pm IST

NEW DELHI :In a tragic incident that has left the nation in shock, a massive fire engulfed the Baby Care New Born Hospital in Vivek Vihar, Delhi, on Saturday night, resulting in the death of at least seven newborn babies. The fire, which broke out around 11:30 pm, quickly spread to two adjacent buildings, causing widespread devastation.

According to reports, distraught parents and family members of the deceased infants are demanding justice from the authorities for their tragic loss. One parent, Ritik, who lost his 10-day-old child, expressed frustration, stating, “They have no answer if the hospital was legal.” Another parent lamented, “Allah ko pyaari ho gayi meri beti” (My daughter has become dear to God).

The hospital’s license had expired on March 31, and it was found to be operating with more beds than permitted. Moreover, the doctors on duty were not qualified to provide neonatal intensive care, raising serious concerns about the quality of medical services provided.

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The fire department revealed that the hospital lacked essential safety measures such as emergency exits and fire extinguishers. Director of the Delhi fire department, Atul Garg, stated that it is likely the hospital did not possess a No-Objection Certificate (NOC), further highlighting the negligence on the part of the management.

The owner of the hospital, Dr. Naveen Khichi, and the doctor on duty were detained by the police after being found absconding. They have been booked under Sections 336 (negligence), 304 A (culpable homicide), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Eyewitnesses described harrowing scenes of rescue efforts, with local residents playing a crucial role in saving the newborns trapped in the blaze. Despite their efforts, seven infants succumbed to the fire, while five others sustained minor burn injuries.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured that those responsible for negligence will face strict punishment. He stated, “Culprits will not be spared. Strictest punishment will be ensured for those found negligent or involved in any wrongdoing.”

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The tragedy has prompted swift action from authorities, with Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj directing a speedy inquiry into the incident. Lt Governor VK Saxena has also pledged to ensure that those responsible are brought to book.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia of ₹2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the families of the victims.

As investigations continue to determine the cause of the fire, the incident serves as a grim reminder of the critical need for stringent safety regulations in healthcare facilities to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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