Baby among eight killed in Mumbai hospital fire

  • Accidental fires are common across India, especially in the densely packed financial capital, because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 9:45pm

A three-month-old baby was among eight people killed in a fire at a Mumbai hospital, officials said on Tuesday, in the latest disaster to highlight lax safety standards in India.

The blaze broke out around 4.00pm local time on Monday on the fourth floor of a government-run hospital in the northern suburb of Andheri.

The death toll rose from six to eight on Tuesday, said a spokesman for the city’s disaster management cell.

Another 140 people, including patients, doctors and nurses were rescued and were being treated at hospitals across the city, he said.

The cause of the blaze at the ESIC Kamgar hospital is not yet known but a fire official said that the hospital had not sought a proper safety inspection.

Fire ravages slum in India’s Mumbai

“It is a 1970s building and no fire safety audit had been carried out,” said M.D. Ogle, deputy chief fire officer at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, a state government agency.

“It is up to the occupier to seek an inspection.”

Earlier, an investigator told The Times of India that the fire was likely started by a short circuit in an air conditioning unit on the ground floor. “Stacks of rubber rolls” fuelled the blaze “which shot up through an open fire duct”. “The fourth floor of the hospital was affected the most as smoke got lodged there for the longest duration,” he said.

Accidental fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations. They are particularly common in densely populated Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

In December last year, at least 14 people were killed when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant in the city.

Earlier that month, a fire swept through a Mumbai sweet shop, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers.