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Ten babies killed in hospital fire in India

Ten babies killed in hospital fire in India

Ten babies died in a maternity unit in the Indian state of Maharashtra early Saturday when a fire ripped through a major hospital, a doctor said.

Staff rescued seven of the newborns at the Bhandara district hospital, but they were turned away before they could reach the other ten, Pramod Khandate, a senior doctor, told AFP.

All those who died were between a few days and three months old, according to reports.

"The cause of the fire is not yet known, but our staff put out the fire as soon as they could. The smoke caused the babies to suffocate," Khandate said.

The nurses on duty noticed a fire coming from the hospital's neonatal unit and raised the alarm.

The fire brigade prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the hospital and moved other patients to safety.

"A heartbreaking tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called the deaths "extremely tragic".

Authorities ordered an immediate investigation into the latest disaster to raise questions about safety at Indian hospitals. More than 90 people died in hell at a Kolkata hospital in 2011.

A fire at a hospital in Ahmedabad in August killed eight coronavirus patients. Another five Covid-19 patients died in a fire at a clinic in Rajkot in November.

The Supreme Court asked for a report on safety at coronavirus hospitals due to the incidents.

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