Hyderabad, Aug 9
Eleven people were killed and at least 30 rescued after a massive fire broke out at a COVID-19 facility in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada on Sunday morning.
The hotel leased by a private hospital to treat the coronavirus infected had "violated" safety rules, according to Fire Safety Director Jairam Naik.
"The alarm bell didn't ring at the time of the accident and there was a delay in opening the back door. Investigation has been initiated and there will be action on hotel management after it," Jayram Naik said.
The fire department has confirmed that the hospital management did not procure a NOC before con- verting the hotel into a COVID facility.
The hotel is near to police control room and just around 2 km away from fire station.
Sources said it kept operating without necessary permission but officials only realised after the tragic incident.
All the rescued people have now been taken to a nearby hospital.
Several people are believed to be trapped at the hotel, that was used as the COVID-19 care centre.
Many fire tenders have been rushed to the spot to douse the blaze. Rescue operations are underway.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the families of the deceased and said he had discussed about the prevailing situation with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.
"Anguished by the fire at a COVID Centre in Vijayawada. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones.I pray that the injured recover as soon as possible. Discussed the prevailing situation with AP CM," PM Narendra Modi tweeted.
B Srinivaslu, Vijaywada Police Commissioner, said at least 30 coronavirus patients were being treated at the Covid-19 care centre where the fire broke out. He said 20 people have been rescued so far including few hospital staff members.
"The fire was reported at around 5:09 am and the fire was controlled within 25-30 minutes. And 15-20 people were rescued and sent to another private hospital. Some are in critical condition in the hospital. About 30 Covid-19 patients and 10 hospital staff were here," B Srinivaslu said.
Krishna DC Mohammad Imtiaz said the fire broke out at the Covid-19 facility due to "short circuit" and evacuation process is underway.
"The incident took place around 5 am. Around 22 patients are being treated in hospital. We are evacuating the entire building. The reason of fire appears to be a short circuit, as per the preliminary report, but we will have to ascertain," Krishna DC Mohammad Imtiaz was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said NDRF teams have now joined the local authorities to carry out relief operations. He also offered prayers to the families of the deceased.
"Shocked and distressed by the news of fire at a Covid centre in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh. NDRF teams have joined the local authorities in relief operations. Prayers for the families of the bereaved and safety of others," G Kishan Reddy said.
Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy orders probe
Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has expressed shock over the fire accident at the Covid-19 facility.
CM Jagan Reddy has directed the authorities to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the fire accident and report about the probe to him. He has also directed the officials to take immediate steps to ensure better medical services are provided to the victims of the accident. India Today